Pain Relief for Gum Infection

Gum disease is a common cause of what is frequently referred to as a "toothache." Swollen, painful gums are a source of considerable discomfort and might make eating, drinking and talking difficult. While you should seek immediate treatment for a suspected infection, some simple home remedies might help relieve your gum pain temporarily.

Oil of cloves is a natural analgesic. (Image: Magone/iStock/Getty Images)

The Basics

The human oral cavity is full of bacteria, which when combined with other materials, form a sticky "plaque" that covers the teeth. Without regular brushing and flossing, the plaque develops into a hard coating called tartar, which can only be removed with professional cleaning. Plaque and tartar buildup cause the gum tissue to become inflamed, swollen and eventually infected. An oral infection involving only the gums is called "gingivitis." When the infection spreads to connective tissue and bone, it is called periodontitis.


The early symptoms of a gum infection include redness and swelling, bleeding and bad breath. Signs of a more advanced infection include pain and loose teeth. Note that pain is a sign of a serious infection, and you should not attempt treatment at home. Consult your family dentist immediately when you notice symptoms of infection.

Pain Relief and Treatment

The only long-term way to relieve the pain associated with a gum infection is to seek treatment. Infection in its early stages might be reversed with oral or topical antibiotics, professional deep cleaning and better hygiene practices at home. More advanced infection might require surgical intervention to open up inflamed pockets of soft tissue, stabilize loose teeth and repair damaged bone.

Home Remedies

Several home remedies might temporarily ameliorate your gum pain. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen might be used until you are able to see your dentist. Try to avoid hot or cold foods, as they might aggravate your condition. Brush your teeth gently with a soft toothbrush to avoid increasing inflammation. Some individuals find that oil of cloves is an effective analgesic. Soak a cotton ball with a few drops of the oil, and bite down.

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