Think cavities are just for kids? Not true. More than 90% of adults over age 40 have had at least one cavity. And conditions associated with getting older — such as dry mouth or gum disease — can increase your risk of a toothache.

Usually, tooth decay doesn’t hurt. But if bacteria and plaque eat through the protective enamel on your pearly whites and reach the nerve, that cavity can cause a toothache. Contact a family dentist as soon as possible if you are experiencing tooth pain. But while you wait to get the tooth checked out, you can tame the pain with a dab of clove oil.

In a small study, researchers found that clove oil was an effective stopgap for numbing the mouth until you can get to your dentist. Want to give it a go? Simply soak a small gauze pad in the essential oil and hold it on your toothache for about 10 seconds. If the oil of cloves is too intense, cut it with some olive oil and do avoid swallowing any of it.

Don’t have clove oil on hand? These toothache remedies may be effective until you can seek dental care in Scottsdale.

Aloe vera for toothache

This plant is a great natural pain reliever and not just for sunburns anymore. Some people think applying a bit of aloe vera gel to sore gums and teeth can ease aches, soothe inflammation, and fight bacteria that cause infection. While researchers have injected it into infected pockets, you can try massaging it in, then rinsing. Make your own aloe mouthwash with pure gel and water, or ask your dental professional about aloe-based dental products.

Cold compress for toothache

Does an aching tooth make your mouth feel like it’s on fire? Try cooling it down. Wrap an ice pack or bag of frozen peas with a towel, and hold it on your cheek above your sore tooth for about 15 minutes to numb the pain. The presence of cold helps to curb pain and swelling in superficial nerves. More sophisticated compresses are simple to make and, when heated in the microwave or cooled in the freezer, provide short-term relief to aching teeth.

Garlic for toothache

People have long believed this pungent plant is a powerful pain reliever. Garlic is chock-full of naturally occurring compounds that can help wipe out bad bacteria. Research has shown that garlic can either inhibit growth or kill most of periodontal organisms tested. That said, garlic may be too strong for some people. But if you like it, break out your favorite Italian recipes, and give garlic a try.

Mouth rinses for toothache

Three items from your pantry will work wonders on your tooth pain: hydrogen peroxide, salt, baking soda, and peppermint tea bags.

  • Peroxide needs to be diluted, so mix one teaspoon of peroxide into a half cup of water and swish it in your mouth to help fend off inflammation and bacteria. Don’t use this as a long-term solution.
  • Baking soda is also an inexpensive and readily available home remedy. To make a mouthwash, dissolve one teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water.
  • Saltwater rinses also have a therapeutic effect while soothing your toothache. Mix 1/2 teaspoon into a cup of warm water and swish it vigorously before spitting it out. Along with soothing the tooth and disinfecting the affected areas, the salt also aids in drawing out fluid around the inflamed soft tissue and gums.
  • Peppermint tea bags; holding a warm tea bag over a sore tooth can help ease discomfort. And because the menthol in peppermint tea has antibacterial and numbing properties, it may do double duty in driving back cavity pain. Peppermint is also cooling and has a gentle numbing effect. You may also apply natural peppermint leaves to your tooth or a few drops of peppermint oil on the site of your pain.

Myth-buster alert

A folk remedy claims that strong liquor can grant you relief from a tooth abscess — a pocket of pus caused by an infection. No, you’re not supposed to drink the spirits. This Civil War era treatment involves applying whiskey to your gums or swishing it in your mouth. But dentists say there’s no evidence to support using alcohol to numb the pain.

“There was never yet a philosopher that could endure the toothache patiently” declares an unhappy character in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. If you are suffering with a toothache, gum disease could follow. Untreated toothache and infection can spread to nearby bone, skin and other tissues. These serious problems call for serious solutions. If your tooth pain is severe, seek dental care in Scottsdale as soon as possible. And while you’re waiting for your appointment, it’s best to stick with recommended remedies. Consider using these home treatments as a temporary fix only.