Help! What To Do For A Toothache That Gets Worse At Night?

Help, my toothache gets worse at night

Handling a toothache involves a lot of little things to do throughout the day. You may be managing your toothache for different reasons. Maybe you’re waiting until your dental appointment, or you are between dental visits, or you just got a toothache and aren’t sure whether it warrants a visit to the dentist or not. Whatever the case, when it’s nighttime and time to go to sleep, the worst thing that can happen is an increase in the intensity of pain of your toothache. You don’t want a disturbing pain to keep you up all night, so you have to figure out what to do to soothe your tooth enough to go to sleep.

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Why does my toothache get worse at night?

There are many different reasons for why your toothache may get worse at night. All of them are related one way or another to the cause of the toothache, which is usually tooth decay in the form of a dental cavity. If the tooth decay is in the advanced stages, it will most probably involve the surrounding tissues as well.

  • Change in body position: When you lay down to go to sleep, the horizontal position of your body causes a shift in in the internal pressure of the tooth. If the tooth is decayed to the extent of the innermost and most sensitive part of it being involved, it means that lying down to go to sleep will trigger an increase in pain. This will manifest either as an increase in the intensity of your toothache, or in the beginning of the feeling of a toothache even though it wasn’t present during the daytime.
  • Removal of distractions: It may be that during the day you were preoccupied or caught up in one busy activity after another. If you had a low level of toothache, it might have escaped your attention during the day. However, when you lay down to go to sleep, you relax and let go in order to drift off into sleep. This can make space for the low intensity toothache to come into the spotlight.
  • Not brushing your teeth before you go to sleep: If you eat something sweet or carbohydrate-rich before bedtime and neglect to brush your teeth properly, the sticky and sugary food particles on your teeth can aggravate the state of a tooth that has already begun to decay. Another reason can be dental sensitivity to sweet flavors, which will feel like a toothache.
  • Tooth grinding: If you grind your teeth without noticing, it can cause pain which keeps you up at night. Most people who grind their teeth do it in their sleep.
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What can I do for a toothache that gets worse at night?

You can do many little things which will help relieve the pain and get you to sleep. Most of these home remedies can be done quickly and with little effort.

  • Use mouthwash or a salt and water rinse: Rinsing your mouth with mouthwash or with salt dissolved in warm water can help soothe your teeth by reducing the bacterial activity in your mouth.
  • Brushing and flossing: Brushing your teeth carefully and properly as well as flossing your teeth can help remove food particles that may be triggering the toothache. You usually know the exact areas where food tends to get stuck between your teeth. Make sure to floss them gently and thoroughly, as well as the teeth in the area of the toothache. If the problem is in the tissues surrounding the tooth, or if it is because of food that is stuck between your teeth and rotting in your mouth, flossing will help.
  • Use extra pillows: Raise your head higher than you usually do when you sleep by using an extra pillow or two. This will help decrease the pressure on the tooth and therefore reduce the pressure-related pain. Be careful about arranging the pillows as you do not want to strain your neck in the process, if you elevate your head too much.
  • Garlic cloves: You can either chew a clove of garlic directly, or soak a cotton ball with clove oil and apply it to the tooth that hurts. This has a soothing effect on the tooth and helps relieve pain.
  • Warm tea bag: Dip a tea bag in warm water and apply it to the painful area by holding it between your tooth and the inside of your cheek.
  • Use a cold pack: If there is swelling along with the pain, you can apply a cold pack by holding it to the face at the area of the tooth that hurts. Alternatively, you can place an ice cube or ice chips in your mouth to apply cold directly to the tooth.
  • Salt and baking soda: Mix equal parts salt and baking soda, dip a wet cotton ball in it and apply it to the tooth by keeping it between the tooth and the inside of the cheek. You can hold it in this position for as long as you need to do it.
  • Over the counter painkillers: If all else fails, use over the counter painkillers for temporary relief of the toothache, but do not keep using them continuously to deal with the pain. They are only intended for symptomatic relief and do not cure your tooth decay, even if they make the pain go away successfully for a short period of time.
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While these home remedies can help you decrease the intensity of your toothache enough to go to sleep, do not count on these remedies to keep managing the pain in the hope that the pain will go away on its own. These are only temporary solutions that provide short-term relief and give you enough recovery time to get by until you get to see your dentist and get the dental treatment your teeth need in order to stop the toothache for good. Make sure to see your dentist for regular dental checkups and whenever you encounter a dental pain or problem that needs to be addressed by a professional.

–> ATTENTION: Anyone who has a fear of dentists…
Get Rid of Toothache, Cure Cavities Naturally And No More Dentist Visits Ever Again!
Click here to learn more! ->

John D

Editor at
Joh is the editor at where we're passionate about you getting the best tips about oral health. There are a lot of questions asked about every detail of this topic and that's where we come in, to answer them as quickly and helpfully as possible for you.
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