Causes And Prevention Of Toothache

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Causes And Prevention Of ToothacheInfographic © Image sources: see foot of page

One of the most painful things in life, occurring notoriously to those who don’t take their oral health seriously, is a toothache – that sharp, throbbing pain in your tooth and gums that prevents you from enjoying your meals. In some cases, a severe toothache may even get extremely intolerable and prevent you from doing your daily activities. [1] If you’re experiencing a toothache, read this article as we discuss its causes and symptoms, and provide you numerous tips including a list of the herbs that may help alleviate the pain.

You can easily find these herbs in your garden or kitchen pantry which is very convenient, especially when your toothache occurs late at night when dental clinics are closed. Keep in mind, though, that you should not skip your twice-a-year visits to the dentist even if the pain has temporarily ceased.

What Causes Toothaches [1]

There are numerous factors that may case your toothache, but the following are the most common ones:

• Tooth decay. This is the destruction of the enamel, the outer layer of the tooth, and can form cavities. Eating sugary food and drinks triggers the plaque in the teeth to produce acid, which breaks down the enamel and causes tooth decay.

• Abscessed tooth. A tooth becomes abscessed when the pulp (the nerve of the tooth) becomes infected with pus due to untreated tooth decay.

• Tooth fracture. This happens when a tooth gets chipped or severely fractured due to traumas in the mouth such as accidents or biting something too hard.

• Damaged filling. Eating, grinding, chewing food wears out the filling over time. If the filling has cracked or fallen out, food particles and decay-causing bacteria can wedge between the filling and the tooth, causing toothache.

• Repetitive motions such as chewing gum or grinding teeth. Friction from these activities wears of the enamel and exposes the dentin (the tooth’s second outer layer), which causes teeth sensitivity.

• Infected gums. The gums are the supporting structure of the teeth, and when a person is suffering from gum diseases such as gingivitis or periodontal disease, the teeth will also get affected.

• Accumulation of food and debris between the teeth. Food particles that get stuck between the teeth can develop into plaque and produce bacteria, which is the main cause of tooth decay.

Toothache Symptoms [1]

• Pain in the tooth or the surrounding gums which can range from a mild discomfort to a sharp, throbbing pain. In some cases, the pain increases when pressure is applied to the tooth.

• Swelling of the gums.

• Fever or headache.

• Foul-tasting drainage from the infected tooth.

How To Prevent Toothache [2]

Don’t wait for your tooth to get decayed before you start taking care of it. You can avoid the pain and discomfort of experiencing a toothache through these basic oral care tips:

• Brush your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, especially after consuming sugary food and drinks.

• Floss at least once a day to remove food particles that get stuck between your teeth.

• Aside from the requisite twice-a-year visit to the dentist, make it a point to regularly get a check-up.

• Eat foods that are rich in calcium, phosphorous, and vitamin D to help strengthen your teeth and gums.

Herbal Remedies For Toothache [3]

Garlic. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, garlic has long been used for relieving pain. Make a paste using garlic cloves and salt in a mortar and pestle, then apply on the affected part.

Onion. Its antibacterial properties can help reduce the pain and kill the bacteria in the mouth that causes a toothache. Chew a slice of onion for at least three minutes or place a small slice on the affected tooth.

Ginger. Aside from soothing headaches and treating ringworms, ginger can also help relieve a toothache and heal minor infections in the gum. Slice a ½ inch thick piece and place it on the tooth.

Lemons. Lemons contain citric acid that helps reduce pain in the tooth. Mix lemon juice with a bit of salt and apply on the affected tooth.

Turmeric. In addition to its antiseptic properties, turmeric can also relieve pain and eliminate bacteria in the mouth.

Cabbage. Known as a detoxifier, cabbage can surprisingly alleviate a toothache when the leaves are rolled, softened, and laced on the affected tooth.

Thyme. Also, functions as antiseptic, chopped thyme leaves can reduce the bacteria formation in the mouth that causes a toothache.

Lavender. This herbal plant is known to produce analgesic and calming effects which can ease the pain and discomfort.

Goldenseal. Another herbal plant known to kill bacteria, goldenseal can help in tolerating the pain caused by a toothache.

Cloves. Ground or crushed cloves can do wonders for your toothache, as it kills bacteria in the mouth and numbs the pain with its anesthetic properties.


[1] Friedman, Michael (2015) Toothaches: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention.

[2] 4 Tips to Prevent Toothaches.

[3] Top 13 Herbal Treatments for Toothache.

Infographic Image Sources:

Ginger –
Garlic –
Onion –
Turmeric –
Cabbage –
Goldenseal –
Thyme –
Lavender –
Lemons –
Cloves –

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