Causes of a Toothache and How to Ease Tooth Discomfort

Posted On: August 26, 2021

A toothache can range from being very mild to extremely painful in or around a tooth. These can occur from something as little as food getting stuck in your gums, like a popcorn kernel, to major issues like a bacterial infection. Most toothaches are minor, however, and can be treated at home with some simple home remedies. I am going to share with you five main causes of a toothache, as well as five ways to ease the discomfort. 

Main Causes of a Toothache

1) Cavities

Consuming foods and drinks high in sugar can put you at an increased risk for developing a cavity. Many people who are experiencing tooth sensitivity will go to the dentist and discover that a cavity is what’s causing their sore tooth. It’s important to visit your dentist for a routine cleaning every 6 months to avoid these types of situations. Cavities can often be caught before the patient experiences any discomfort.

2) Fractured Tooth

A broken tooth, or crack in your enamel can be very painful. If left untreated, this can lead to infection and permanent loss of a tooth.

3) Abscessed Tooth

A pocket of pus that is usually up against your tooth causing pain. Someone with poor oral hygiene, a rotted tooth, or a cracked tooth are at an increased risk for developing an abscess.

4) Repetitive Motions

Chewing gum, constantly moving your jaw, and clenching your teeth are all common reasons someone may develop a toothache. Why? These types of repetitive motions cause unnecessary wear on the enamel. If you’re someone who grinds your teeth at night, look into wearing a night guard to protect your teeth while you sleep.

5) Extractions/Eruptions

Having a tooth removed or trying to poke through the gums can be temporarily uncomfortable.


Ways to Ease Tooth Discomfort

1) Warm Salt Water

Rinsing with warm salt water will help disinfect the area and reduce inflammation so gums aren’t so puffy and sensitive.

2) Over the Counter Medicine

Although taking Advil or Tylenol will not heal a tooth infection, it will reduce inflammation and pain associated with it. If you think your tooth may be infected, it is important to schedule an appointment with your general dentist.

3) Cold Compress

Using a cold compress such as an ice pack is another way to help reduce swelling. To see best results, use the cold compress for 15-20 minutes every couple of hours.

4) Peppermint Tea

Peppermint has natural ingredients that are known to help reduce pain and inflammation. It may be helpful to get a warm peppermint tea bag and place it on the gums/ affected tooth for a few minutes each day.

5) Visit your Dentist

If the toothache does not go away after trying some different home remedies, schedule an appointment with your dentist to help develop a proper treatment plan. If a cavity, abscess or fractured tooth is present, the dentist will need to intervene to provide you with some relief.


There can be many causes for a toothache; some major and some minor. This is why it’s extremely important to get the opinion of your dentist before putting it off too long and causing more damage to your tooth, or gums. At Freytag Orthodontics, our goal is to help give you a confident beautiful smile you can show everywhere you go! But most importantly, we want your teeth to remain healthy. For more information about toothaches, visit our website by clicking here.