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We’ve all experienced the the pain and discomfort that comes with a toothache. Your first response is to call and make an emergency appointment with your dentist, but what can you do from home to relieve some of the discomfort you’re experiencing in the meantime?
If you’re experiencing any swelling, apply an ice pack on your cheek. Always keep a cloth between your skin and the ice pack, and press firmly against all the curves of the affected area. Do not apply ice for longer than 15-20 minutes at a time, and do not fall asleep with ice on your skin.
A cold compress will help if:
- Your face is swollen
- You’re experiencing pain
- If you’ve chipped or lost a tooth
- If you have an abscess in your tooth
Until you can be seen by your dentist, one of the best things you can do for your mouth is to rinse your mouth with warm salt water to help loosen any debris lodged in cavities or between the teeth. A saltwater rinse can reduce swelling, boost healing and remove any left-behind food that may be stuck.
Make your own saltwater rinse by:
- Mix ½ a teaspoon of table salt to 8 ounces of warm water
- Rinse your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting out the water and do not swallow
- Repeat every 2-3 hours
Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse
Rinsing your mouth with a hydrogen peroxide solution is an effective antibacterial mouthwash, especially if your toothache is being caused by an infection in your mouth. Hydrogen peroxide is dangerous if ingested and should never be swallowed, so this remedy is not recommended for children.
Make your own hydrogen peroxide rinse by:
- Mix equal parts of 3% hydrogen peroxide and water
- Rinse your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting out the mixture
- Rinse the mouth with plain water several times after
Over the Counter Painkillers
An over-the-counter painkiller, like ibuprofen, can provide temporary pain relief for a toothache. Adults should take the recommended amount of aspirin or ibuprofen, while dentists recommend acetaminophen for children.
If you choose to take an over-the-counter medication, swallow it – don’t put it directly on the tooth or your gums as this old folk remedy is not effective and might harm the inside of your mouth.
Switch to Soft Foods
Eating soft foods that are easy to swallow and require minimal chewing will help to put less pressure on your already sore tooth. Soft foods to consider are:
- Milk and dairy products like milkshakes, yogurt, custard, ice cream, and cottage cheese.
- Tender meats or chicken, tuna, eggs, and smooth peanut butter
- Well-cooked or canned fruits, or fruits that are well-ripened
- Cooked vegetables that are baked or mashed like sweet potatoes
Avoid foods that might sting such as salty or spicy foods, citrus fruits or juices, sugary foods and tomatoes.
Like other cloves, peppermint has numbing properties that can soothe a toothache. Thanks to menthol works as an antibacterial agent and also gives peppermint its minty smell and flavor.
Make your own peppermint tea by:
- Combining 1 teaspoon of dried peppermint leaves with 1 cup of boiling water
- Steep the peppermint leaves for 20 minutes and allow the water to cool
- Once cooled, swish the tea around in your mouth and either spit or swallow the tea
Other forms of peppermint have the same healing effects as peppermint leaves. Try holding a slightly warm, wet tea bag against the tooth for several minutes until the pain lessens, or put a few drops of peppermint oil on a cotton ball and place it against the tooth as a temporary remedy as well.
When to Visit Your Dentist
You should see a dentist if the pain does not subside in several days – there’s no knowing what tooth pain might mean until you have had your mouth examined by a professional.
If you’re experiencing tooth pain, contact your Marrero dentist so we can schedule an emergency appointment for you as soon as possible.