6 Common Causes of Toothaches (and What You Can Do to Relieve the Pain)

6 Common Causes of Toothaches (and What You Can Do to Relieve the Pain)

If you have a toothache, chances are pretty good that you can think of little else except for the pain. While you wait for your dentist appointment, you might wonder: What’s good for a toothache? / What’s good for tooth pain?

Common Causes of Toothaches

A toothache can manifest in several ways. For instance, an individual with a toothache may feel:

  • Dull or sharp pain
  • Pain when chewing
  • Increased sensitivity or pain when drinking hot/cold drinks
  • Swelling
  • Fever
  • Foul-odor in the mouth

If you have a toothache, it is important to see your dentist as quickly as possible. That’s because only a dentist can pinpoint the underlying cause of your toothache. Once you have a proper diagnosis, your dentist will be able to create a treatment plan for you. That being said, the most common causes of toothaches include:

  1. Severe decay
  2. Damaged filling
  3. Cracked teeth, in which the nerve is exposed
  4. Abscess, in which you may notice a pimple-like bump on your gum
  5. Teeth grinding
  6. Impacted teeth

Home remedies for toothaches

While you wait for your dentist appointment, there are a few things you can do at home to ease the pain.


Over-the-counter painkillers are one of the most popular sources of pain relief for a toothache. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen help because they reduce any fever or inflammation you may have. Take any OTC medication as directed.

Note: There is a rumor that placing an aspirin directly onto your gums will relieve pain; however, do not try this as the aspirin can actually cause pain and burn your skin.


Sometimes a little toothache can arise from a piece of food stuck in your gumline or between teeth. Flossing can remove the debris and alleviate your pain.

Salt water rinse

To make a salt water rinse, stir one teaspoon of salt into one cup of warm water. Swish the salt water in your mouth up to four times a day. The salt water can relieve pain, but it can also help keep your mouth clean while removing bacteria.

Cold therapy

Swelling often accompanies oral infections. If your mouth is swollen and tender, try applying an ice pack on the outside of your cheek. You might also find that a facial icepack will be most comfortable.

Clove oil

Place a few drops of clove essential oil on a cotton pad; then rub the cotton pad on the sore gum. According to a 2015 study, clove oil, which contains a compound called eugenol, which can reduce pain. In fact, studies show that clove oil can reduce pain and inflammation even more successfully than other topical analgesics.

Note: Do not use clove on oil on children.

When to seek dental care

Oral infections and broken or damaged teeth are considered dental emergencies. If left untreated, oral infections can spread quickly. Don’t hesitate to call the dentist if you have a fever, if your toothache persists for more than one day, and if your pain is severe.

If you have a toothache, contact us today and get the care you need.

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