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5 Tips for Sleeping When You Have a Toothache

August 12, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — peeryfamily @ 12:45 am
Woman awake with toothache

You know that sleep is important for your overall health, but catching some Z’s can be quite difficult if you are dealing with a toothache that doesn’t seem to be subsiding. You know that you should call your emergency dentist first thing in the morning so you can get dental attention, but what should you do in the meantime? Continue reading to learn some tips to relieve tooth pain so you can sleep soundly until the morning rolls around.

Use OTC Pain Relievers

Pain medication that you find over the counter can be very effective when it comes to minimizing discomfort, including dental pain. Medicines like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin can relieve minor pain from a toothache. Numbing pastes and gels, often containing benzocaine, can help to dull your pain long enough to fall asleep. Just remember not to use any products with benzocaine to treat children under the age of 2.

Elevate Your Head

When you are laying your head down, more blood flows to your head. This can intensify your toothache even worse than it already is. To help prevent this, try to keep your head elevated as much as you can. Use a few extra pillows to prop up your head or try sleeping in a recliner.

Avoid Certain Foods Before Bed

Some foods can aggravate your toothache and make it more difficult for you to sleep. Stay away from foods that are particularly acidic, cold, or hard so that they don’t trigger any further pain by aggravating cavities or other issues.

Use a Cold Compress

Using a cold compress helps to constrict the blood vessels in the area and numb some of the pain that you are experiencing. Cold temperatures also help to reduce both inflammation and swelling which is especially helpful if your toothache was caused by an injury. Just wrap a bag of ice in a towel and place it on the affected area for about 20 minutes at a time.


Rinse your mouth with saltwater. This will help to wash away any food particles that are stuck between the teeth. It is also a natural disinfectant, helps to reduce inflammation in the mouth, and aids in healing oral wounds. Just mix half a teaspoon of salt into a glass of warm water.

Sleeping with a toothache can seem impossible, but maybe the tips listed above can help. You’ll be having a good night’s sleep in no time!

About the Author

Dr. James M. Peery, Jr is an experience dentist who has been serving patients in the Lynchburg community for over four decades. He earned his dental doctorate from the Medical College of Virginia. He is a former President of the Lynchburg Dental Society and a member of both the American Dental Association and local Rotary Club. If you’re dealing with a toothache, he would be happy to help you get some relief. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit his website or call (434) 847-5331.

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