Updated at: 11-08-2023 - By: John Lau

Tooth pain can be unbearable and a real headache, urging many of us to seek quick relief. One unusual remedy that often crops up is using alcohol as a toothache reliever.

This article delves into the credibility of this claim, unpacking how alcohol interacts with bacteria, the role it plays in numbing dental discomfort and its limitations.

Read on for enlightening findings on whether your favorite drink doubles as an emergency dentist!

Alcohol and Tooth Pain

Does Drinking Alcohol Help Tooth Pain (1)

The claim: Does drinking alcohol help toothache?

Many folks stand by the claim that drinking alcohol, particularly hard liquors such as whiskey, scotch or vodka, can alleviate tooth pain. This belief stems from alcohols’ ability to kill germs and numb the affected area thereby providing temporary relief during a dental emergency.

Scientific studies have proven that alcohol indeed possesses analgesic properties which contributes to its numbing effect soothing toothache. It’s not unusual for sufferers to soak a cotton ball in liquor then press it against the sore spot for immediate ease.

However appealing this quick fix may sound, bear in mind it’s merely a stopgap measure rather than an ultimate solution; severe toothaches still necessitate professional medical attention.

The role of alcohol in numbing the area

Alcohol has long been believed to have a numbing effect on tooth pain, providing temporary relief for those experiencing dental discomfort. This is because alcohol acts as a local anesthetic, reducing the sensations of pain in the area near the tooth.

When applied topically or ingested, whiskey, scotch, and vodka can help numb the affected area and alleviate some of the discomfort associated with toothaches. Additionally, laboratory studies have confirmed that alcohol does reduce pain in humans and animals.

Soaking a cotton ball in alcohol and applying it to the affected area may provide immediate relief during a dental emergency. However, it’s important to note that while alcohol can numb the area temporarily, it will not address underlying issues or clear up infections in the mouth.

Other Remedies for Tooth Pain

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Dabbing on essential clove oil

One natural remedy that can provide relief for tooth pain is using essential clove oil. Here’s how it can help:

  • Clove oil contains a compound called eugenol, which has been used for centuries as a natural anesthetic and pain reliever.
  • When applied directly to the affected tooth or gums, clove oil can numb the area and alleviate discomfort.
  • Its antimicrobial properties also make it effective in fighting bacteria that may be causing the toothache.
  • To use clove oil, simply dab a small amount onto a cotton ball and apply it to the painful area.
  • Gently press the cotton ball against the tooth or gums for a few minutes, allowing the oil to penetrate and provide relief.

Applying saltwater for immediate relief

Saltwater is a simple and effective remedy for immediate relief from tooth pain. It can help reduce inflammation and fight bacteria in the mouth. Here’s how you can use saltwater to alleviate your toothache:

  • Add half a teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water and stir until dissolved.
  • Take a small sip of the solution and swish it around your mouth for about 30 seconds, focusing on the affected area.
  • Spit out the saltwater solution, making sure not to swallow it.
  • Repeat this process two to three times a day or as needed for pain relief.

The Limitations of Alcohol for Tooth Pain

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Alcohol’s limited ability to fight bacteria

While whiskey, scotch, and vodka can help in killing germs and numbing the area near the tooth, they are not a substitute for proper dental care.

It’s crucial to remember that alcohol will not clear up an infection in the mouth and should not be relied upon as a sole treatment for tooth pain. Furthermore, the acidity in alcohol can actually harm gums and teeth when they are already sensitive during a tooth infection.

Additionally, any additional sugar found in alcoholic beverages can potentially worsen tooth sensitivity and feed bacteria.

So while swishing whiskey or vodka may provide temporary relief from tooth pain caused by infection or disease, it is always best to seek professional attention for severe cases of toothache and prioritize regular dental hygiene practices.


In conclusion, while alcohol may provide temporary relief for tooth pain by numbing the area and killing bacteria, it is not a long-term solution.

It is important to remember that severe toothaches require medical attention from dental professionals, and relying on alcohol as a remedy could potentially worsen the underlying issue.

Therefore, it’s best to consult with a dentist for proper diagnosis and treatment options rather than solely relying on alcohol for tooth pain relief.