Toothaches are painful, and when one strikes in the middle of the night, the discomfort can keep you from getting the rest you need. With a visit to the dentist unavailable until the next day, you’ll want to find relief fast with items you likely already have at home.
9 Simple Ways to Relieve a Toothache at Night
1. Over-the-Counter Medications
The simplest way to relieve a toothache is to take a dose of over-the-counter pain medication such as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. These pain medications help reduce inflammation that causes pain and can ease the pain of a toothache.
Be sure to follow the instructions on the medication’s label. Also, before taking any type of pain medication, it is important to ensure they are safe to combine with other prescription medications you might be taking. When a medication is available over-the-counter, it does not mean that it is always safe for everyone to use.
2. Medicated Ointment
Also available over the counter, are medicated ointments designed for oral use that contain benzocaine. These can help relieve a toothache when applied topically to the area. Although effective, these ointments usually are not suitable for use on children.
3. Cold Compress
If inflammation is contributing to the pain of a toothache, then applying a cold compress to the cheek can provide relief by constricting the blood vessels in the area.
Wrap a bag of ice or frozen vegetables in a towel and gently press it to the affected side of your face, applying it for intervals of 15 to 20 minutes until you experience relief.
4. Elevating Your Head
When lying flat, blood and other fluids can pool in the head, adding to painful pressure around a sore tooth.
Keeping your head elevated on a stack of pillows throughout the night also helps to reduce swelling and inflammation around the painful tooth.
5. Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse
Bacterial infections in cavities or occurring in the gums can cause toothaches and other oral soreness. Rinsing with a solution that contains equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water helps control bacterial growth in the mouth. This reduces inflammation and irritation and can provide relief from a toothache.
When swishing with hydrogen peroxide be careful not to swallow any of the mix and rinse your mouth with plain water once you are finished. Also, this method is not recommended for children because the solution could be dangerous if swallowed.
6. Salt Water Rinse
Similar to rinsing with a solution of hydrogen peroxide, swishing with a warm salt water rinse helps to control bacterial growth in the mouth, providing relief.
While swallowing salt water could upset the stomach, it’s safer than hydrogen peroxide and is a safe swishing solution for children.
7. Clove Oil
One of the main compounds found in cloves (the ones used for baking) called eugenol has numbing effects and can actually relieve a toothache.
- Clove Oil – If you have clove oil, you can apply a drop or two directly to the affected area.
- Ground Cloves – If you only have ground cloves, mix them with water to make a paste. Then apply the paste to the area in your mouth where you are experiencing pain.
- Whole Cloves – If you have whole cloves on your spice rack, you can chew or suck on one to find relief. Just be careful not to fall asleep with a whole clove in your mouth.
We do not recommend this remedy for children because a child could accidentally swallow too much clove, leading to an upset stomach.
8. Peppermint Tea
Peppermint tea contains antibacterial compounds in addition to menthol which has mild numbing effects. Swishing with peppermint tea or chewing on a peppermint tea bag can soothe your toothache.
If you aren’t a vampire and can tolerate the pungent taste of a garlic clove, then you can relieve your toothache with the natural antibacterial properties of garlic. Pop a clove in your mouth, chew it, and let it sit near your painful tooth.
When to See the Dentist for a Toothache
Toothaches usually don’t happen without a reason. When you experience the pain of a toothache, it is a sign that you likely have an underlying oral health problem that needs to be treated. In fact, a variety of dental issues can cause toothache, and these concerns can range from minor issues like sensitivity to more serious problems like cavities, which may require a dental filling, and abscesses.
The next time you wake up with a toothache in the night, take action to find temporary relief but remember that at-home treatments provide symptomatic relief but do not address the underlying issue. So, you’ll want to make an appointment for a dental exam first thing the next morning.
To learn more about a toothache or to schedule an appointment with our experienced dentist, we welcome you to contact Dentistry of West Bend today.