Whether it's an infant enduring the growth of his first teeth or an adult with a broken molar, tooth or gum pain can make a person miserable. Consult a dentist about any tooth or gum pain you experience, but if pain wakes you in the middle of the night or hits on a weekend when the dentist isn't available, home remedies can help calm the pain until you can see a professional.
A chilled teething ring or a frozen washcloth can help ease the pain for a teething child. Wet the washrag and stick it in the freezer, then hold it against the child's gums or allow the baby to chew it. Always supervise a child's chewing to make sure he doesn't choke. Cold can help adults, too: Phillip Corn, DDS, in "The Doctors Book of Home Remedies" recommends sucking on ice three or four times a day, for about 15 minutes each time, until you can see your dentist.
Doctors at Penn State University's Milton S. Hershey Medical Center recommend rinsing with warm salty water to ease tooth and gum pain. You can mix 2 tablespoons of salt in a cup of warm water and stir to dissolve. Swish this solution around in the mouth until it cools. Spit it out and take another mouthful until you've used all the water. Don't swallow the salt water, though; it could upset your stomach.
Rubbing clove oil onto the tooth or gum can temporarily numb the area and relieve pain. Apply the oil to your fingertip or a cotton ball and rub it onto the painful area. The oil will numb your tongue also, so be careful to apply it only to the sore area and be careful not to bite your tongue if it does become numb. You can purchase clove oil at a pharmacy.
Taking over-the-counter pain relievers as directed on the packaging, such as aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen, can help relieve the pain. Never place any of these directly on the toothache or gums, however, as they could result in irritation of the mouth tissue.
You can purchase mouth rinses or ointments that contain numbing agents, such as benzocaine or lidocaine, to numb the pain or a toothache or sore gums. Follow the directions on the package for rinsing your mouth or applying the solution to your gums.
- The Doctors Book of Home Remedies, Revised Edition; Prevention Magazine Editors; 2003