7 Classic Home Remedies for Toothache - Does Salt Water Help with Tooth Pain?
Feb 01

7 Classic Home Remedies for Toothache - Does Salt Water Help with Tooth Pain?

Feb 01

You are having throbbing toothache and wondering if there is any instant way to do away with the pain. Or does salt water help with tooth pain? What are the chances?

Having toothache in the middle of the night is no less than a nightmare. It can wake you even from your deepest sleep. What’s even worse is when you only know a handful of options to try at home to relieve the pain.

But worry no more. In this guide, we have introduced some home remedies to make your toothache better. But first, let’s take a dig on ‘does salt water help with tooth pain’, or is it just a myth?

Toothache Described

A toothache can range from dull to a sharp, throbbing pain that can be constant or occasional, says the founder of Les Belles NYC, Sharon Huang, D.D.S. There could be more than one cause of toothache. It could result from an infected nerve, gum infection, or a sign of a heart attack in some cases.

“It is very important not to ignore toothaches because this is our body’s way of telling us something is wrong,” says Huang. “Our nerves are sending millions of messages to our brain of an attack, infection, or injury and our brain is sending the signal for us to feel pain.”

When asked why toothache is so painful? She replied our teeth house the most sensitive nerves of the body “when these nerves are irritated or infected, they can cause severe pain.”

Does Salt Water Help with Tooth Pain?

Saltwater is an old-school method to reduce inflammation and discomfort in the mouth. From minimizing discomfort to encouraging tissue generation, salt water rinse offers a host of benefits for oral health.

Apart from that, people often use this remedy to get rid of other health problems like toothaches, bad breath, and gum diseases.

How Does Salt Water Help with Tooth Pain?

Salt water rinse changes the mouth’s pH balance and makes it more alkaline. Since bacteria only thrive in acidic surroundings, salt water rinse removes water from bacteria through osmosis, stops its growth, and reduces inflammation and plaque buildup in the mouth.

Benefits of Salt Water Rinse

The removal of bacteria through salt water rinse will reduce your chances of falling ill, developing bad breath, cavities, or gum disease. In addition to that, it offers the following benefits for your oral health:

  • Promotes Tissue Regeneration:

Saltwater is a miraculous solution, containing healing properties. It increases extracellular matrix (ECM) compounds and stimulates gingival fibroblast migration - all without causing discomfort, burning, or irritation.

  • Prevents Dry Sockets:

Saltwater rinse proves to be helpful after tooth extraction by preventing the development of dry sockets. In fact, most dentists suggest using salt water rinse following dental procedures for quick healing.

  • Soothes Toothache:

A few of the many benefits of salt water rinse include soothing toothache, sore throat, inflamed gums, and canker sores. It removes excess fluid from inflamed and infected gums to relieve you from pain.

Additionally, it improves the respiratory system and proves to be helpful when suffering allergies like the common cold and upper respiratory infections.

How to make Salt Water Solution?

Salt water solution is indeed the most straightforward home remedy for toothache. Just add 1 tablespoon of salt to ½ cup of lukewarm water and stir well. Swish the solution in your mouth in a back-and-forth motion for 30 seconds. Repeat as needed throughout the day.

10 At-Home Toothache Pain Relievers

At-Home Toothache Pain Relievers


In addition to salt water rinse, ample other effective home remedies help relieve tooth pain. Below we have listed some tried and tested ones. That said, “you should also speak with your dentist before using any of the following remedies if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have any medical conditions that might be impacted by herbal ingredients,” says Huang.

  • Cold Compress:

Cold press is a good toothache reliever, especially if the pain is characterized by swelling and inflammation. It numbs the impacted area and reduces discomfort. Use a cold compress by applying it to the affected area from the outside of your cheek for 20 minutes and repeating it after 20 minutes off.

  • Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse:

Hydrogen peroxide rinse could be a perfect alternative to salt water rinse. It helps relieve tooth-related pain or discomfort. Take a small container and fill half of it with hydrogen peroxide and half with water. Mix it well and rinse your mouth without swallowing it. Hydrogen peroxide is a temporary pain reliever, you may need to use it again after a few hours.

  • Peppermint Oil or Tea Bag:

Evidence in vitro study in the European Journal of Dentistry says that peppermint was among the three oils that “worked as an effective intracanal antiseptic solution against oral pathogens” and prevented the bacterial growth in the mouth.

If you experience a toothache, take a peppermint tea bag, chill it in a freezer for a few minutes and apply it to the affected areas. Alternatively, drip a few drops of peppermint oil on a cotton ball and apply it to the area causing pain.

  • Garlic:

Some research studies support the fact that garlic can help relieve toothache. Fresh garlic cloves are packed with allicin - a compound containing anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties.

You can either crush garlic and apply it to the affected area or chew it directly using the impacted tooth to reduce the pain.

  • Clove:

Clove contains eugenol - a compound that helps with toothache. A 2015 clinical trial revealed that people who used eugenol after tooth extraction experienced less pain and inflammation during their healing process.

Clove acts as a painkiller and numbs the area where applied. To use clove for dental pain, soak some ground cloves in water to form a paste. Either apply it directly or pour it into an empty tea bag to place in the mouth.

Some prefer to chew the clove directly or place it (as it is) near the affected area to minimize the pain.

  • Elevation:

Sometimes, just elevating your head using an extra pillow reduce additional pain and discomfort.

  • Thyme:

Thyme herb is rich in antioxidant and antibacterial properties. To use it for tooth pain, drip a few drops of thyme oil on a soft cotton ball and apply it to the area of pain. Alternatively, you can add a few drops of thyme oil to water and swish it back and forth in the mouth to relieve pain.

Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

According to Huang, “anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin or naproxen work well with dental pain because they reduce inflammation.”

In fact, recent studies have shown that the combination of Tylenol (acetaminophen) and Advil (ibuprofen) is equally effective as opioids for toothache. With the increase in opioid addiction, experts note that a safe over-the-counter alternative, like the one we stated, is safe to keep at hand.

Note: Don’t forget to consult your dentist about the recommended dosage.

Will Salt Water Rinse make Tooth Pain worse?

Even though salt water is adequate and works best for relieving tooth pain, you need to take care of a few things that possibly can make it worse for your pain.

  • Using ice Cold Water instead of Warm:

Using cold water instead of hot to make salt water solution can negatively impact your tooth pain and could make it even worse if your teeth are already sensitive to extreme temperatures.

  • Using the Solution on an Open Cavity:

Applying salt water solution to a wide open oral cavity will definitely cause pain. Since the dentin is exposed, the salt water will work as an external stimulus and irritate the nerve, resulting in pain.

  • If your Temporary Crown falls off:

If the dental crown that you had placed on a live tooth (tooth that never underwent a root canal) falls off, exposing the tooth, using anything like salt water in that situation will do nothing but cause pain.

  • Using the Solution on an Exposed Nerve:

Dentists never recommend using salt water rinse when you have exposed tooth nerves. The reason is that when a nerve is uncovered (not protected by enamel and dentin), anything you use directly affects it, resulting in excruciating pain.

Salt water has antibacterial properties and can do wonders for toothache. However, it needs to be used in certain ways to make it work properly, or else it will be the worst thing you have ever done to your teeth.


A salt water rinse is the simplest home remedy for toothache. It will work for some situations and will not work for others. Salt water rinse can be beneficial for situations like canker sores, swollen gums, or pain after tooth extraction or gum treatment.

If you are still unsure about the usage of this minimalistic solution, consult your dentist to clarify your doubts.