Foods to Eat When You Have a Toothache

When you’ve got a toothache, one of the last things you want to do is eat. A tooth that’s throbbing is bad enough, but when you add chewing to the mix, it can be excruciating. Does this mean you are doomed to a liquid diet until you can see the dentist? Not necessarily. Here, we offer some strategies for reducing tooth pain, as well as recommendations about what to eat and not eat when your teeth are hurting.

First, let’s talk about toothaches themselves. Toothaches can happen for many reasons, including cavities and oral infections, but they can also be caused by dental procedures. Tooth extraction and oral surgery can cause pain during the recovery period, and even a cleaning can make your teeth feel sensitive and sore. Toothaches occur because the inner layer of the tooth, called the pulp, is inflamed, and gum inflammation can also cause tooth pain, because the gums surround the teeth. A toothache can feel sharp, throbbing, and sensitive, and you may experience a headache, fever, and a bad taste in your mouth at the same time.

Going to a dentist is the best course of action when you have a toothache, because sometimes toothaches can lead to more serious health conditions. However, there are some home remedies you can try to alleviate the pain while you are waiting for an appointment. A saltwater rinse may bring relief, or you could try a cold compress. Garlic, cloves, and peppermint tea have all been shown to reduce tooth pain, so you might want to give one of these tactics a shot.

There are also foods you can eat that won’t exacerbate the problem. Soft, easy to eat foods like bananas, applesauce, cottage cheese, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, and oatmeal are all good options if you have a toothache. Gelatin, puddings, custards, smoothies, and milkshakes can also be soothing, though ice cream is typically too cold to eat with a toothache. As long as it isn’t too warm or too cold, any soft food is a good option.

You will want to steer clear of any foods that are acidic or loaded with sugar. Avoid citrus fruits, tomatoes, raw vegetables, and anything spicy or salty. Things that are hard and crunchy or difficult to chew, like granola or meat, should be avoided. Hot coffee will likely be too painful to drink, and hard or sticky candy will cause more pain. Chewing ice should be avoided, because it’s not just hard on the teeth but also too cold to tolerate with a toothache.

The best thing to do when you have a toothache, of course, is to make an appointment with a highly skilled, experienced dentist. At Park 56 Dental Group, we offer pediatric, prosthodontics, endodontics, oral surgery, Invisalign®, emergency, and sedation dentistry, all at the highest level of treatment. We serve the Midtown, Central Park, Upper East Side, Park Avenue, and all surrounding Manhattan and New York areas, with a patient-centered practice that has hours to fit your schedule. Schedule your complimentary consultation today by contacting us online or calling us at (212) 826-2322.