Toothache and Gum Problems (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
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Check Your Symptoms
To reduce pain and swelling of a toothache, use an ice pack on the outside of your cheek; do not use heat. Avoid very hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks if they increase your pain.
To reduce sensitivity to heat, cold, or brushing, consider using a toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth. Brush with it regularly or rub a small amount of the paste on the sensitive area with your finger a 2 to 3 times a day. Floss gently between your teeth.
If your gums are mildly swollen and red, use a tartar-control toothpaste that contains fluoride and an antiseptic mouthwash, such as Listerine, or a mouthwash that contains fluoride. Make sure you brush after meals and snacks and floss every day. If you cannot brush after eating, chew sugar-free gum, use a tooth pick, or rinse your mouth with warm salt water. You can make your own salt water by mixing 1 tsp (5 g) of salt in a medium-sized glass [8 fl oz (240 mL)] of warm water.
Tobacco can cause many gum problems, decreases your ability to fight infection of your gums, and delays healing. Do not smoke or use other tobacco products. For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.
Do not use illegal drugs, such as methamphetamines, which cause tooth and gum problems.
Symptoms to watch for during home treatment
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:
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