How to Sleep with a Toothache (5 Pain Reducing Solutions)

For such a small thing that’s tucked away in our mouths, a toothache can be incredibly painful. Worse still, the pain can keep you awake at night or cause you to keep waking throughout the night.

This leads to a downward spiral of being overly tired, lacking energy, lowering your immune system, making you snappy, making it hard to concentrate, and so on.

So, if you want to know how to sleep with a toothache – I can help.

Obviously, you need to get to the root (no pun intended) of the problem and resolve the issue.

But I understand as well as anyone that’s not always possible. Especially in that moment when you lay your head down to sleep and your tooth is throbbing.

Whether you have a throbbing toothache and can’t sleep, a tooth infection, or extreme tooth pain keeping you awake, here are some tips to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

Why Are Toothaches Worse at Night?

There are a few reasons why your toothache is worse at night. Or at least it seems to feel worse when you’re trying to sleep.

See if you can do anything about the following points to lessen the pain when you’re trying to sleep:

Some Sleeping Positions Are Better Than Others

Toothache pain worsens when you’re trying to sleep because when you lay down more blood flows to your head and adds a little extra pressure to the sensitive area.

Try sleeping with your head elevated a little and see if the pain lessens. Also, don’t sleep on the side with your toothache as this also adds pressure to the area.

Certain Foods Can Make Toothache Worse

What you eat for your evening meal can affect how painful your toothache is when you’re trying to sleep.

Foods high in sugar, acidic, or extremely hot or cold can all aggravate tooth pain. Try to not eat too late either, give your jaw and teeth longer to relax.

You’re More Aware at Night

During the day when you’re busy and your mind is occupied, you will notice aches and pains less. It’s when you relax in the evening that it comes to the forefront and seems to be worse.

Try doing something that occupies your mind in bed to help take your mind off the pain and drift off to sleep. Reading a book works for some people, or solving fun puzzles like sudoku and crosswords.

You’re Using or Clenching Your Jaw a Lot During the Day

The more you use your jaw and the tooth or teeth that hurt, the worse the pain is going to be. I’m not suggesting you don’t eat, but if you take some extra care and attention you can put less pressure on your teeth.

Make sure you’re not clenching or grinding your teeth during the day. A lot of people do this as a habit or when they are stressed.

Avoid chewy foods or other reasons to chew and bite more than is necessary. The more you use your teeth the more pressure and pain you’ll feel later on in the evening.

How to Sleep with a Toothache and Throbbing Pain

Best Pillow for Neck Pain and Headaches

As I mentioned earlier, you must see a dental professional as soon as you can to resolve the issue as toothaches tend to keep reoccurring.

A toothache is a problem people commonly have to deal with though, I understand this. Which is why I put together this article to help.

Maybe you’re scared of going to the dentist, concerned about the cost, stubborn, or there is another reason why you don’t or can’t go. If you are dealing with a toothache here are some ways to still get a good night’s sleep.

Use Medication As a Short-Term Solution

Medication is always a good short-term solution for pain of any kind. Painkillers and anti-inflammatories such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can help numb the pain so you can sleep.

This works better or some people than others and depends on the type and severity of the pain. It’s a good first option though.

Using Clove Oil as a Natural Solution to Toothache

You may have heard that clove oil helps with a toothache and thought it was an old wives tale. Well, it’s not, clove oil works wonders for some people at numbing that agonizing tooth pain.

Add a few drops of clove oil to a cotton ball and place it on the area that’s causing the pain. Don’t worry, it doesn’t taste bad and isn’t uncomfortable in any way.

Swill with Salt Water

Mix a teaspoon of salt in some water and swill this around your mouth as you would mouthwash before you get into bed.

Salt cleans the area, helps fight off infection, reduces swelling, and reduces the pain. It can feel rough if the area is a little tender but it’s worth it for a better night’s sleep.

Use an Ice Pack

Ice therapy is great for reducing pain and swelling. Just as you would use an ice pack on a painful joint you can place one on the side of your face where your tooth pain is.

10-15 minutes should be enough to numb the pain and help you get to sleep. It’s not the most comfortable method, but some people prefer this to the other methods.

Elevate Your Head with Pillows

As I mentioned above when you lay down to sleep you increase the amount of blood flowing to your head and increase the pressure on your painful tooth.

Find the most comfortable position you can sleep in with your head elevated as much as possible.

It’s not ideal or a long-term solution. But if the other methods aren’t helping this is something that might. Especially with that agonizing throbbing type of tooth pain.


There you have it, several reasons, ways, and remedies how to sleep with a toothache and put that throbbing pain to the side so you can get a good night’s sleep.

I hope some or all of these methods prove effective for you and help you get back on track with your sleep schedule.

If you have any other tips or feedback please drop me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

Here’s to a good night’s sleep and putting an end to toothache pain!