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How To Relieve a Toothache

A throbbing toothache can make any day feel like your last. Luckily, we have provided a few helpful steps to help you relieve that nasty pain -- and they don't involve a Bugs Bunny-like cloth tied around the head and under the chin.


  • Step 1: Elevate your head. As long as your head is above your heart, there will be less pressure going to the area.
  • Step 2: See a dentist if the pain remains for more than a day or two, if you have trouble swallowing or breathing, or if you have a fever or painful red swelling.
  • FACT: 43 of the 50 largest cities in the U.S. add fluoride to their public drinking water, which strengthens tooth enamel.
  • Step 3: Apply a cold compress to the outside of your cheek if your face is beginning to swell from the toothache.
  • Step 4: Avoid eating hot or cold foods—a severe temperature is likely to irritate your tooth more.
  • Step 5: Take an over-the-counter pain medicine, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, according to product instructions.
  • Step 6: Apply an over-the-counter benzocaine antiseptic to the tooth and surrounding gums. This will help temporarily numb the area.
  • TIP: Instead of the benzocaine, apply a little clove oil—a centuries-old natural remedy still used in modern dentistry—to a cotton ball and carefully bite down so your sore tooth rests on it, taking care to avoid rubbing it on your gums.
  • Step 7: Floss all around your sore tooth to make sure there's nothing wedged in causing the pain.

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