Have you ever woke up in the middle of the night with a throbbing toothache? You probably do the usual thing, go to the medicine cabinet and pop some Ibuprofen or Tylenol, right? Well, what if I told you there are some great home remedies for toothache?

This waking in the middle of the night started happening to me a few months ago. It would keep me up for awhile, until I started using some of these home remedies. I knew I needed to go to the dentist, but I didn’t have dental insurance and I just couldn’t afford it. And then, when I called to make my appointment, the dentist still wasn’t able to see me for a couple weeks.

Luckily, I had a few tricks up my sleeve for dealing with tooth pain. If I didn’t know about these, I would have been in a world of hurt…literally! So today, I want to share with you the remedies that helped me through this time before I could get in to the dentist.

Cloves and star anise on a table

Clove oil

Clove oil is one of my absolute favorite home remedies for toothache. But I’m not talking about clove essential oil here. Clove essential oil is great, but it is very hot oil and I don’t recommend ingesting or putting in the mouth. The remedy I’m talking about is clove infused oil.

To make clove infused oil, roughly crush up some cloves and fill a jar roughly 1/3 of the way with them. Then fill the rest of the jar with olive oil. At this point, you can do a long infusion, or a short infusion.

Making a long infusion

For a long infusion, put the lid on the jar, and sit in a sunny windowsill. Shake the jar daily (if you remember better than I do!) and allow to sit in that windowsill for 4 weeks. At the end of the 4 weeks, strain out the cloves, store in a dark cabinet. When you have a toothache, take some infused oil on a cotton swab or your finger, and apply to the affected area. Repeat as necessary.

Making a short infusion

If you need relief right away, you can do a short oil infusion. To make a short infusion, leave the lid off of the jar. Put some water in a pot, and sit the jar in it. Don’t get any water in the jar of cloves and oil! Heat the water in the pot over medium heat. When the water is bubbling (but not boiling), let it simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, and allow the jar to cool before handling. Strain the cloves out of the oil, put the lid on, and store in a dark cabinet. Use as needed for tooth pain.

In a pinch, if you don’t have any clove oil handy, you can also just put some powdered cloves directly on the painful tooth. Or, suck on a whole clove. Cloves have analgesic (pain relieving) properties, and will help ease the pain.

Fun fact: you can make a filling for a cavity by mixing clove oil with zinc oxide powder. I don’t know if I would do this myself while dentists are so readily available, but it’s good to know in an emergency situation!

Turmeric is an amazing home remedy for toothache


I love using turmeric on my teeth. Yes, that beautiful golden powder that you use in curries and stir-frys. If you’re wondering, it doesn’t stain your teeth yellow. It actually makes them whiter! I brush my teeth with turmeric on about a weekly basis.

Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, so it is very effective for toothaches. Put some powdered turmeric on your finger and rub on the affected area. Or, if you have some raw turmeric root, you can chew or suck on a piece to calm tooth issues. You could also make yourself a cup of turmeric tea from powdered or raw turmeric.

Turmeric helps ease the pain from cavities, but it is actually the most effective at soothing gums. So if you have sore, irritated gums, rub some powdered turmeric on them! You can safely use turmeric on your teeth many times a day.

The Lost Book of Remedies

Salt water rinse

If your teeth have a low, throbbing feeling in them, try rinsing your mouth with some warm salt water. Salt water is anti-inflammatory and helps remove bacteria from the mouth. It can also help relieve swelling of the gums.

To do a salt water rinse for the mouth, simply dissolve 1/4 tsp of regular table salt in 4 ounces of warm water. Take a small amount in your mouth, and swish for 30 seconds. You can do this again with the rest of the salt water, even gargling with some of it to soothe any throat sensitivity. You can do this several times a day, but please don’t swallow the salt water!

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is another one of my favorite home remedies for toothache. It’s anti-bacterial, so it can help get rid of bacteria in your mouth that may be cause your teeth to hurt. It also reduces inflammation in the mouth.

Dilute hydrogen peroxide with an equal amount of warm water in a cup, and swish it in your mouth. Don’t swallow! You can do a hydrogen peroxide rinse several times a day during times of tooth pain.

Chewing tobacco

Chewing tobacco goes against everything that we know about healing our teeth, right? But if you are suffering from an acute bout of tooth pain, you can put chewing tobacco around the affected tooth and hold it there for as long as you can. The tobacco packets are the easiest way of doing this. If you don’t have any chewing tobacco, you can do the same thing with tobacco leaves from a cigarette.

Peppermint oil is a good home remedy for toothache

Peppermint oil

Peppermint oil is an essential oil that I do recommend using in the mouth, but not ingesting. It’s antibacterial, so it’s especially good to use for pain due to inflamed gums. To use peppermint oil for a toothache, put a carrier oil like olive oil on a cotton ball, then put 1-2 drops of peppermint oil on top. Apply with the cotton ball directly on the affected tooth and gums.

You can also make a homemade mouthwash with peppermint oil. Put a few ounces of warm water in a glass, then add 2 drops of peppermint oil. Swish this around in your mouth and spit out. Do not swallow!

If you don’t have peppermint essential oil, you can take a cooled peppermint tea bag and put it on the painful area in your mouth.

Ice pack

If your tooth is aching and throbbing, you can try putting an ice pack down on the couch or bed, and laying your face with the painful side on the ice pack. This helps with swelling, and the cold helps numb the area.

Vanilla extract

This may seem like an odd one, but it does work! Vanilla extract is made with alcohol, which is anti-bacterial and analgesic. Putting it on the affected tooth can help kill germs and numb the area.

Toothache plant

Toothache plant (Acmella oleracea) is a traditional herbal remedy for toothache. It’s anti-viral, anti-fungal, and antibiotic. It also creates a numbing sensation when crushed or chewed. There are a few ways to use toothache plant to treat tooth pain.

If you grow toothache plant, you can take a leaf or two and chew it. But not many people grow it! If this includes you, you can buy dried toothache plant. You can reconstitute (mix with water) the dried leaves and put them around the painful area in the mouth. Or you can make a tincture with the dried leaves and flowers for a long-term shelf-stable medicine.

The Lost Book of Remedies
The Lost Book of Remedies


Raw garlic has some amazing medicinal benefits. When garlic is crushed or chewed, it releases allicin, which is a natural antibacterial agent that also helps alleviate pain. For a particularly bad toothache, chew on a piece of garlic and let it sit against the affected area for as long as you can. This can be done several times a day.

If you’re not growing your own garlic, you should be. Garlic is a must for both the medicine cabinet and the kitchen!

Raw ginger is a good home remedy for toothache


Ginger is another good home remedy for toothache. It’s a powerful anti-inflammatory, with antibacterial properties as well. Ginger is also quite warming. It may take quite some time to feel complete relief, but if you chew on a piece of ginger and hold it by the affected tooth, it should help the pain subside.

Used tea bags

Besides just peppermint, other tea bags can be helpful for soothing tooth pain. The tannins in tea can help ease painful gums and teeth. After you brew yourself a nice cup of tea, wring out the bag and let it cool slightly. Hold the tea bag on the affected area for as long as possible.

Using home remedies for toothache

It’s important to note that all of these home remedies are only temporary fixes. Good dental hygiene is a must to help prevent tooth pain. If you are experiencing pain in the mouth, you really need to get to the dentist to find out what is going on. Pain is your body’s indicator that something is wrong, and your dentist is the best place to find out what is causing it. Ignoring, or just treating, the pain may cause your dental issues to just be compounded.

So if you can’t get in right away, or you’re waiting for your appointment, feel free to use these home remedies for toothache. But don’t delay too much in going to the dentist!

Go check out these other home remedies posts: 15 Old Home Remedies that Actually Work, 14 Amazing Home Remedies for Cough, 10 Natural Remedies for Headaches (and Tips for Prevention), and 10 Best Remedies for Cold and Flu.

The Lost Book of Remedies



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