At Home Remedies for Tooth Ache and Sore Gums
As our offices remain closed due to regulations set out by the World Health Organization and for the safety and well-being of our patients and staff, we recognize that you no longer have access to routine dental exams and care. There may be times you experience gum and tooth pain. Though normally we would recommend making an appointment to determine the cause of your discomfort since it is not possible at this time, we’d like to provide some home remedies for toothache, home remedies for gum pain, and offer temporary solutions to alleviate your discomfort. We hope they will help alleviate your problem completely or at least provide you with relief while you wait for an appointment.
Toothache and Pain
Under normal circumstances if you had a toothache, we would recommend making an appointment to determine the cause as they are often caused by tooth decay or a cavity. Though you may worry if you have tooth pain, especially during this time of office closures, not every cause is serious. There are several causes of tooth pain and some can be remedied at home. These include:
- Brushing too hard – Sometimes gums and teeth can ache from brushing too vigorously or using a harsh toothpaste. Try a soft bristled toothbrush and brush carefully. In times of stress there is a tendency to brush more firmly without being aware. Avoid toothpastes with strong whitening agents until your pain subsides.
- Enamel Erosion/Sensitivity – If you eat or drink a lot of acidic foods (see our post on the worst beverage offenders here) you may erode your enamel which can lead to tooth sensitivity as it exposes the sensitive layer underneath known as the dentin which is connected to nerve endings. Avoiding acidic foods and beverages, extreme hot and cold foods and using an enamel restoring or sensitivity toothpaste can help.
- Sinusitis – This condition not only affects the sinuses but may cause ear and jaw pain as well, feeling like a toothache. If you have jaw pain or if it hurts to press against your face beneath your eyes or on your forehead you may have sinusitis. You can do a nasal rinse or take an over the counter medicine to relieve the pressure. Often seasonal allergies contribute to this.
- TMJ pain – This is associated with the joint that attaches the jaw to the skull (temporomandibular joint) and is usually a result of teeth grinding. Many of us will grind our teeth when stressed and right now you may be doing it more than usual. Rubbing or massaging the jaw muscles can help ease the pain, and if you have a night guard you should wear it.
If your gums are red, swollen and irritated it may be a sign of gum disease. Early warnings of gum disease and gingivitis according to the American Academy of Periodontology include:
- Red, swollen or tender gums or other pain in your mouth
- Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or eating hard food
- Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer than before
- Loose or separating teeth
- Pus between your gums and teeth
- Sores in your mouth
- Persistent bad breath
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- A change in the fit of partial dentures
Before you start to panic, we’d like to reassure you that although gum disease can cause health issues and tooth loss in it’s advanced stages, when caught early it is reversible with proper hygiene and care. Not all gum pain indicates advanced gingivitis. Other causes of gum pain include:
- Sores on your gums – Canker sores can happen from stress (which we are all under at the moment), poor diet, food sensitivities and possible reactions to sodium lauryl sulfate, an additive in many toothpastes and mouth rinses. If you have a sore or ulcer on your gum, use one of the suggested rinses below to reduce pain, consider supplementing with B12, and switch to a toothpaste that doesn’t contain sodium lauryl sulfate. Most sores resolve on their own within a week but following the suggested remedies below may eliminate discomfort.
- Wisdom teeth – Sore or swollen gums happen around a tooth that’s breaking through. If your wisdom teeth choose this time to break through your gums will be sore and swollen. If you use oral rinses it will ease the discomfort until you can come in for an assessment.
If you are experiencing sore gums even if it is a result of early gum disease you can improve your condition and symptoms at home while you wait for an appointment after our offices reopen. Here are some suggested home remedies to alleviate gum pain as outlined on healthline.com:
Topical Applications and Compresses
Don’t use any ingredients you are allergic to. Discontinue use if more irritation or sensitivity develops.
- Tea – Using tea bags as a compress can help relieve sore gums and has anti-bacterial properties. Boil tea- peppermint, chamomile, or green tea have soothing or anti-inflammatory properties- cool in fridge and apply to gums.
- Clove oil – Cloves have antiviral and antioxidant properties and may also help to relieve pain. You shouldn’t use cloves in large quantities or for long periods of time.
- Turmeric gel – Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-fungal and can help heal bleeding and red gums. Brush your teeth and rinse thoroughly before applying gel to gums. Leave on for 10 minutes before rinsing with water and spitting it out. Repeat twice daily.
- Aloe vera gel – Use food grade aloe vera on gums to ease bleeding and swelling.
Here are some rinses that help kill bacteria and resolve pain:
- Warm salt water – Add salt to warm water, swish around your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out. Repeat. Salt water helps kill bacteria that contributes to gum disease and it can soothe inflamed gums, reducing pain.
- Hydrogen peroxide – If swished in the mouth it can help kill bacteria that contributes to gum disease. (Don’t swallow!)
- Baking soda diluted in water – Adding some baking soda to water and swishing it around your mouth before spitting it out may help neutralize the acids that irritate the gum tissue.
- Oral antiseptic rinse – Consider an oral rinse such as Amosan (available online) which helps kill the bacteria that can cause gum disease and helps speed the heeling of canker sores which can also contribute to sore gums.
Tips to Avoid Gum Disease
To avoid getting sore gums and gingivitis and tooth pain remember to practise good oral hygiene. Good oral hygiene is more important than ever when you don’t have access to a hygienist. Be sure to book an appointment in the future as soon as our offices reopen for a cleaning with one of our hygienists and a dental check-up. In the mean time don’t forget to floss and brush daily and reduce sugary foods and drinks. Candy sweetened with xylitol is a good alternative as xylitol actually fights bacteria in the mouth. At the first sign of gum or tooth pain try rinsing your mouth with salt water.
We hope these tips help you and that you stay safe and healthy.
We remain at your disposal for dental health emergencies only (cracked tooth, severe injury). If you experience a dental emergency please contact our offices (call or text) at 416 551-2211 during regular office hours. We ask that if you or someone close to you is ill that you avoid making an emergency appointment at this time. While we recognize that dental emergencies can cause great discomfort, we must consider the safety and welfare of our staff.