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Tea bags on wooden background with fresh melissa, mint. Tea with mint concept.

Tea Bag for Toothache. How and Why it Works

At some point in life, you have probably dealt with a bad toothache. Toothaches can be a real pain, quite literally, and it can leave you feeling helpless. In our busy lives, it’s not always possible to make an immediate appointment with a dentist to address the root cause of a toothache.

You may have tried multiple over-the-counter and home remedies such as a salt water rinse, cold compress, clove oil, and even alcohols like whisky. What if I told you there’s a simple yet effective remedy right in your kitchen? That’s right; the humble tea bag can come to your rescue, providing soothing relief from toothache pain.

When it comes to finding a natural and effective way to relieve tooth pain, tea bags can be a surprisingly useful tool. It might sound strange, but the cheap and convenient tea bag can actually help to ease the discomfort of a toothache, But is this a valid solution to tooth pain?

In the rest of this article, we will take a deep dive into how a simple tea bag can work wonders in relieving your toothache, and how to use it effectively. So, grab a cup of tea (pun intended) and join me in discovering the surprising benefits of tea bags for easing toothache discomfort!

What Is Inside a Tea Bag?

A tea bag is essentially a small, porous packet or sachet containing tea leaves or tea dust. The bag allows the tea to steep in hot water, releasing its flavor and beneficial compounds, while keeping the leaves or dust contained for easy removal.

Tea bags themselves can be made from materials like paper, silk, or nylon, which are porous and heat-resistant to allow the tea to steep effectively.

The contents can vary based on the type of tea, which can include black, green, white, oolong, and herbal teas. However, some tea bags may also contain added flavors, spices, or other ingredients to enhance the taste and aroma of the tea.

Why Tea Bags Work?

There are several reasons why a the humble tea bag can alleviate pain associated with gum swelling or toothache.

Firstly, most tea contain tannic acid, a type of tannins that can be used to stop bleeding and relieve soreness. Tannins possess astringent and anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce swelling and inflammation in the affected area. In the olden days, tannic acid was used as an antidote against poisons. Today, they are mostly used topically to treat cold sores, fever blisters, and stop bleeding. According to a study done in 2019, tannins have been shown to be shorten the clotting time and clot strength of whole blood coagulation in the event of a bleeding.

Secondly, some types of tea (e.g greeen tea and black tea) contain catechins, which are a type of antioxidant with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Catechins can help reduce inflammation and may inhibit the growth of bacteria responsible for dental issues like cavities and gum disease, which can contribute to toothache.

Thirdly, tea, particularly black and green tea, contains small amounts of fluoride, a mineral that helps strengthen tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay. This can help protect teeth from further damage and alleviate toothache symptoms.

Last but not least, the tea bag can help to soak up any pus that may be discharged from an abscess in the tooth or gumline.

While this natural remedy may provide temporary relief, it is not a substitute for professional dental care. Toothaches can be caused by various dental problems, including cavities, gum disease, abscesses, or a cracked tooth. You should always consult your dentist to diagnose the cause of the toothache and receive proper treatment.

How to Use Tea Bag for Toothache

There is no official way to use a tea bag to relieve your toothache. However, it is recommended that you do the following steps:

  1. Start by placing the tea bag in a cup for hot water for approximately 5 minutes. It need not be boiling water.
  2. Once the tea bag has steeped, remove it from from water and let it cool. Some recommend chilling the tea bag in ice water or the freezer to let it cool. This gives the tea bag an added cooling effect and will work well in relieving the pain of your toothache.
  3. Take out the tea bag and place it directly on the tooth or the gum area where the toothache is located.
  4. Gently press the tea bag against the affected tooth or gum for 5 to 10 minutes. Thereafter, rest the tea bag on the sore spot for up to 30 minutes. Give enough time for the tea bag to work its ‘magic’.
  5. Remove the tea bag and rinse your mouth with warm water to wash away any possible residue from the tea bag. It is also recommended that you gargle a cup of warm salt water as the saline solution can help to kill any infection.
  6. Repeat the above steps twice a day—once in the morning, once at night—until the toothache is gone.

It is important that you do not use the tea bag more than once or even use it to brew a cup of tea; you run the risk of getting an infection in the area where the toothache is. Also, always use a fresh, clean tea bag instead of a used or old tea bag as they may not be as effective as the former.

Will Any Tea Bag Works?

The general answer is yes, any teabag will work. Most natural therapists recommend a peppermint teabag due to the antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties of the mint. Peppermint also contains a numbing effect that will help to soothe the toothache.

Alternatively, consider the use of a black or green tea bag as these tea leaves contain a higher concentration of flavonoids. Black tea is also known for its high levels of tannins This is widely documented in several scientific studies including here and here.

Most tea bags will work as they all contain the necessary ingredients that will help to soothe the pain caused by a toothache.


Toothaches can be a painful and disruptive problem, but it is important to approach them in the right way. While a tea bag has been shown and proven to be a working and cost-effective method to soothe your toothache, it is not a recommended or effective solution for treating the underlying cause. Self-medicating with a tea bag for a toothache may only delay proper treatment and lead to a potential worsening of the toothache.

The best way to treat a toothache is to see a dentist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Toothaches can be caused by various dental problems, and the only way to ensure proper treatment is to have a professional assess and diagnose the issue. Last of all, taking care of your teeth and visiting the dentist regularly can help prevent toothaches and ensure the health of your pearly white smile.

Erinwood Brady

Brady Erinwood is an accomplished dentist operating in New York City. Renowned for his proficient use of state-of-the-art dental technologies, Dr. Erinwood offers both general and cosmetic dental services and is widely lauded for both his dental makeovers as well as his to enhancing the oral health of his community.