How to Relieve a Toothache: Sensitive Teeth Remedies

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You’re about to bite into a delicious lunch, and then… wham! Tooth pain.

It’s frustrating, it’s annoying, and worst of all – it hurts.

If you’re wondering about how to relieve a toothache, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’re providing an assortment of great sensitive teeth remedies.

You’ll be able to find relief for your toothache, so you can get back to your lunch, and the rest of your day.

Sound interesting? Keep reading to find out more!


What Causes Toothaches

While finding the best remedies is a great idea, it’s also wise to learn about the causes of tooth pain.

One of the biggest culprits is when the enamel on your teeth starts to wear down. The enamel is the outer layer of a tooth that protects it. But over time, it can start to erode.

When that happens, the layer underneath (called the dentin) starts to let gases and liquids go through with more regularity. And that’s when the potentially painful part happens.

Underneath the dentin is the area called dental pulp. It’s where all of the blood vessels and nerve endings sit, and when cold or hot temperatures hit those nerve endings, it can feel pretty terrible.

So what causes enamel to wear down faster? There are a few common culprits.

Gum disease called gingivitis, teeth whitening, and eating acidic foods are all potential causes. Grinding or clenching your teeth can also contribute to it, as can brushing too hard or too much.

And, no surprise, having cavities can be a big source of tooth pain.

Sensitive Teeth Remedies

Let’s get into some of the many remedies you can try, starting with an easy one: warm water and honey.

It might sound strange that something as simple as a mix of warm water and honey could do much of anything for your aching tooth. And yet honey can be quite effective, in particular, because it’s an antibacterial agent.

As such, it can be useful in speeding up healing time. It will reduce inflammation and swelling, which translates to less pain.

While it might seem easiest to rub honey on the tooth, the best way to get it to the necessary areas is to add a spoonful of honey to some warm water.

Then swish the mixture around inside your mouth and spit it out. It will help soothe the pain while it fights any infections there.

Hydrogen Peroxide Mouthwash

If you’re looking for something a little stronger than honey, you might opt for some hydrogen peroxide. It’s a disinfectant and antiseptic, so it’s likely you’ve seen it used on small cuts or burns. It helps keep infection out of those types of injuries.

But it also functions as a nice mouthwash that will help your gums heal and reduce any inflammation that’s causing dental pain.

You’ll want to grab a cup of warm water and then add in hydrogen peroxide. Just make sure it’s 3% hydrogen peroxide, and that you have equal amounts of hydrogen peroxide and water.

Rinse with the mixture for anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute, then spit it all out. And afterward, rinse with only water, just to make sure there isn’t any hydrogen peroxide left in your mouth.

Green Tea

Back to the natural side of things… green tea is a nice option because it has antioxidants and also functions as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Many people know about its use for general inflammation reduction. It’s also used to prevent certain kinds of cancer. But when used as a mouthwash, it can also help with your tooth pain.

Simply use green tea as a mouthwash a couple of times a day. Make sure it’s unsweetened, so you aren’t rinsing your mouth out with sugar!

Saltwater Rinse

Just like with honey and hydrogen peroxide, a salt mouthwash can be a great way to reduce pain. It’s known for its antiseptic properties, and helping reduce inflammation.

To reduce bacteria in your mouth (and cut down on inflamed areas too) try a warm salt water rinse twice a day.

You’ll want to aim for around half a teaspoon (up to ¾ of a teaspoon for a little saltier mix.) Simply swish it around in your mouth, and be sure to spit it out.

A study in 2017 also showed that rinsing with salt water was effective against plaque buildup on the teeth, which is another of the causes of enamel erosion. So, a saltwater mix is helping in a few ways!

Oil Pulling

Oil pulling might not be the most widely known technique, but there are plenty of people who swear by it.

It originates from India, in the Ayurvedic tradition. It involves swishing around either sesame oil or coconut oil, before spitting it out.

Unlike the previous suggestions, where you are supposed to swish for around 30 seconds, you swish the oil for several minutes.

There have been a couple of studies suggesting that pulling with one of these oils twice a day can lower your chances of getting gum disease. It can also reduce plaque buildup.

And since gum disease, a.k.a. gingivitis, can be a big cause of dental pain, oil pulling can potentially help with that pain.

Guava leaves

The flavonoids in guava have been shown to provide some pain relief, primarily through their anti-inflammatory effects. They are also anti-microbial, which can help rid your teeth of whatever microbes might be causing pain.

The easiest way to get those benefits is to chew guava leaves (make sure they’re fresh!). But if that’s not as appealing, try crushing the leaves and adding them to boiling water.

Once the concoction cools, use it as a mouthwash.


Capsaicin is another potent way to relieve a toothache. It’s a compound that comes from hot peppers. And while you might assume putting hot peppers in your mouth would make you MORE uncomfortable, that’s not the case.

Scientists don’t know exactly why it works, but for some reason when you put capsaicin gel on your gums, it can reduce pain.

And yes, it will burn a bit at first. But the thinking is that it is burning the nerve endings a little – just enough to numb the pain.

Desensitizing Toothpaste

You can think of desensitizing toothpaste as another version of capsaicin gel, as it is a specially formulated product that you put directly onto the gums.

While they don’t necessarily contain capsaicin, desensitizing toothpastes generally contain an assortment of chemicals. Potassium nitrate is the most potent, as it acts as a blocker for pain signals, stopping them from going from your tooth’s nerve endings to your brain.

It won’t necessarily work instantly, but after you brush your teeth with desensitizing toothpaste for a few days, you should notice a difference.

Just be sure to use a toothbrush with soft bristles!

Cold compress

This is a tried and true method for relieving pain in general. And while you won’t be putting anything directly on your tooth, you’ll use the cold nearby to help reduce the pain.

Cold compresses make blood vessels constrict, which reduces the amount of pain in that area. It also works well to reduce swelling and inflammation.

So, grab a bag of ice, wrap it in a thin towel, and place it on your cheek and jaw. Make sure it’s close to or surrounding the area where you’re having tooth pain.

Keep the compress in the same spot for 20 minutes at a time. You can continue to apply ice in 20 minute segments for as long as it helps with pain relief.

Preventing Tooth Pain

These are all good remedies for when you’re in pain. But it’s also important to practice good dental care to avoid tooth pain in the first place.

Start by making sure you brush your teeth (with toothpaste containing fluoride) twice a day. And floss at least once a day, if not more.

If you’re in the process of trying to whiten your teeth, make sure you take breaks from it. Too much in a row can wear down the enamel.

It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on how much acidic food you’re eating, and cut back on it if you feel any pain. This also applies to excesses of alcohol, starchy foods, and sugar. These can all have an effect on your enamel.

Quitting smoking is another healthy way to protect your teeth, not to mention your lungs.

But you can’t do all of this on your own. It’s vital to see the dentist for a cleaning at least once a year. If you discover that you’re grinding your teeth, which can also be a source of pain, ask your dentist about a custom mouth guard.

How To Relieve a Toothache

Hopefully, you now have a better sense of how to relieve a toothache. There are some great remedies you can try at home when it comes to sensitive teeth remedies.

At Rapha Dental, we encourage patients to practice dental health at home, and provide top notch dental care in the office.

Stop by our site to see what sets us apart from other practices!