Why Does Tooth Pain Go Away With Mouthwash? (3 Mouthwash Types)

In this brief article you will learn how and why tooth pain goes with mouthwash.

Tooth Pain Goes Away With Mouthwash

Tooth pain can go away with mouthwash. When you rinse your mouth with a mouthwash, it reaches all the nooks and crevices of the oral cavity and washes away all food remnants and debris. When this happens, any obnoxious pressure and pain that you feel in an area in the mouth, like in a tooth, between two teeth or between a tooth and the gum gets relieved, which eases the pain too.

There are certain medicated mouthwashes as well, that fight infections in the mouth that can help with a swollen gum or painful tooth and help to ease your pain. However, this might not happen every time. Tooth pain can be unbearable at times. Not all kinds of tooth pain will go away by rinsing with a mouthwash. Most of the time, proper dental treatment from a qualified dentist is the only permanent solution for tooth pain. Your dentist will prescribe medications and the right kind of mouthwash for your condition which will help relieve the pain.

Pain relief by a mouthwash is always temporary. If you have a tooth with a cavity or an abscess of some kind of infection of the gum, the problem will not get resolved permanently with a mouthwash. Only your dentist can solve the issue permanently and give you permanent relief from tooth pain.

What Causes Tooth pain?

Tooth pain is a very difficult condition to deal with. It not only causes a great deal of discomfort, it can easily disrupt your entire day’s activities and can also disturb your sleep. Simple everyday routine tasks can get disturbed and you may not be able to enjoy your everyday meals like before because eating and swallowing can become difficult.

Tooth pain is a complex phenomenon which does not occur overnight. It usually takes a long standing cavity or infection in the tooth that leads to tooth. Injury to a tooth like one where a person falls on the face or meets with an accident or gets into a fight, can also lead to severe tooth pain. Sometimes, sensitivity in a tooth can also become a very painful experience. Sensitivity in a tooth to cold, hot or sweet and salty foods or beverages can lead to sharp shooting pain in the tooth.

Tooth pain happens when the nerves in the pulp of the tooth get exposed to bacteria and become infected. The pulp chamber in a tooth is a very sterile and uncontaminated part of the tooth, which houses the nerve endings and blood supplying veins and arterioles of the tooth. 

Once this region gets exposed to bacteria, like when tooth decay travels to the deeper part of the tooth, infection in the pulp chamber starts, which leads to inflammation in there, which causes pain. Because the pulp chamber is a very tiny and enclosed space, any amount of pressure can be extremely painful in the tooth. 

Very often, improper brushing techniques erode the enamel of our teeth. Enamel is the outermost layer of the tooth and forms a protective layer as well. Vigorous brushing, brushing with a hard bristled brush, clenching and also, scrubbing the teeth with some erosive substance like baking soda, lime powder removed this protective layer from the teeth. This removal of enamel exposes the second layer of the teeth, which is called dentin, to the oral environment. Exposure of dentin leads to the development of sensitivity.

Sensitivity can be from cold, hot, sweet, sour or salty foods and beverages. A sharp pain will be experienced in the tooth, which at times travels to the forehead too.

Trauma to a tooth can again lead to tooth pain. When a tooth gets injured, it can expose the dentin if a part of the tooth breaks. The pulp chamber can get exposed as well if the fracture of a tooth is very severe. At times, tooth pain develops late in trauma cases. Such a tooth may have developed an abscess in the root region, which becomes painful later on. 

Another reason for tooth pain is when food gets lodged between two teeth or between the tooth and the gum. This can lead to a severe pressure sensation and can irritate you alot. The region where food gets stuck will start paining if the stitch food is not removed. What is a mouthwash all about?

Mouthwash, mouth rinse, oral rinse or a mouth bath is a liquid which is used to rinse  the mouth for different purposes. There are many different types of mouthwashes available in the market that have different actions and can improve the overall health of the oral cavity. A mouthwash is usually prescribed to be used twice a day after brushing.

Mouthwash gives you freshness of breath and prevents bad breath of halitosis. This article will tell you about halitosis, what causes it, who is more prone to it and how to prevent it as well. Using a mouthwash will fight cavities, will protect your gums from gingivitis and periodontitis. It will also reduce plaque and calculus in the mouth and remineralise your teeth to fight off sensitivity.

Each variant of mouthwash is composed of different active ingredients which work on all the above conditions. No single mouthwash will perform all these actions. You need to choose a mouthwash for yourself, depending on what is your prime concern. 

Some of the major ingredients in most of the mouthwashes are:

  • Alcohol , usually upto 27% by volume.
  • Benzoic acid, which acts as a buffer.
  • Chlorhexidine digluconate, which fights plaque and is an antiseptic agent.
  • Difflam, which acts as an analgesic.
  • Essential oils, like eucalyptol oil and eugenol.
  • Fluoride
  • Flavoring agents.

Read this article on Listerine, which will tell you about all the ingredients, working and types of Listerine mouthwash available for you.

Mouthwash For Tooth Pain

As mentioned earlier, tooth pain has not one but multiple causes behind it. Each type of tooth pain needs to be addressed with a different approach accordingly. If a tooth that has a cavity in it or a tooth which is decayed, pains after you eat food because food is stuck in the cavity, the pain will go away as soon as you rinse your mouth with a mouthwash. As the stuck food will get removed, the pressure irritating the nerves of the tooth in the pulp chamber will get relieved, and the pain will stop.

Similarly, if you are experiencing pain because food is stuck between two teeth or between a tooth and a gum, it will also stop once you rinse with a mouthwash and the lodged food gets removed. Ingredients like hydrogen peroxide, benzydamine or difflam act as analgesics and help with tooth and gum pain. People who have very painful gum ulcers also benefit from mouthwashes that have these two ingredients in them.

Mouthwash For Sensitivity

We talked about how sensitivity in a tooth develops in the earlier part of this article. Mouthwashes that target the exposed dentin and form a protective layer over it are great for sensitivity. Such mouthwashes remineralise the tooth, and cover the exposed tubules of the dentin. Which stops sensitivity.

This effect is slow and takes time to remineralise the teeth. It is important that such a mouthwash is used regularly without stopping, for a long period of time. Mouthwashes that have fluoride and calcium carbonate are exclusively effective in remineralising the teeth and help with sensitivity. 

Next time when you visit the supermarket, and are looking for a mouthwash that will help with sensitivity of teeth, look for these two ingredients behind the bottle of your mouthwash. SensodyneR mouthwash is one such effective mouthwash that helps with sensitivity of teeth. 

Medicated Mouthwash

There are some mouthwashes which are medicated as well. These mouthwashes are indicated for some specific kinds of conditions in the mouth such as ulcerative gingivitis, chronic abscesses that have formed an opening in the gums, gum infections, conditions involving the  tongue, cheeks and palate. These mouthwashes have specific anti-bacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties and they help in fighting certain painful conditions on the mouth.

These mouthwashes are specifically prescribed for certain conditions by a dentist and they are not used routinely. Their usage is usually stopped once the condition subsides or improves. Betadine based mouthwash, lignocaine based mouthwash, hydrogen peroxide based mouthwash are some examples.  

Frequently Asked Questions (Tooth Pain Goes Away With Mouthwash)

Can mouthwash heal cavities?

No, a mouthwash can not heal cavities. Mouthwashes that have remineralising ingredients in them can help to remineralise tooth surface and help to fight cavities, mainly by preventing the formation of cavities. However, if a tooth has already started to decay, that is, a cavity has already formed in a tooth, a mouthwash will not heal it. The only option for a tooth cavity is to get it checked by a dentist and get proper dental treatment for it.

How long does it take for a city to destroy a tooth?

Tooth decay is a slow process. No cavity will form overnight. It takes anywhere from a few months to even a couple of years for a cavity to form and start destroying a tooth. It takes anywhere from a year or two to many years before a tooth cavity reaches the innermost layer of the tooth, that is the pulp. However, this should not be taken lightly.

 Even if the process of cavity formation is long, a regular dental checkup at least twice a year should be ensured. This is necessary so that your dentist can identify any cavities or other oral conditions at the very beginning and save your tooth as well as your money. 

Should I use mouthwash before bed?

Yes, you should always use mouthwash before bed. Just like brushing, a mouthwash should also be used twice a day. This will not only protect your teeth from cavity causing bacteria, you will wake up with a fresh breath too. Harmful bacteria in the mouth are most active during the night. If you do not brush your teeth and do not use a mouthwash before bed time, the bacteria will start digesting the food stuck to your teeth which will cause cavities. Therefore, it is important to go to bed with a clean mouth.

Can a cavity go on its own?

No, a cavity will not go on its own. A cavity or tooth decay is a tooth disease that needs to be looked at by a dentist. Only proper dental treatment will heal a cavity and stop its spread further.

How do you know if a cavity has reached the nerve?

Once you start experiencing pain in the tooth, this is a clear indication that a cavity  has reached the nerve and the pulp chambers exposed. Extreme sensitivity to cold, hot or sweet foods that is very comfortable can also be an indication of a cavity that has reached the nerve.


Tooth pain can go away with mouthwash. However, this relief from pain will only be temporary. The only permanent way to cure toothache is to visit a dentist, get the cause of toothache identified and get appropriate dental treatment for it.

Other FAQs about Mouthwash that you may be interested in.

Does Listerine Kill Bacteria In Your Mouth?

Can Mouthwash Cause A Sore Throat?

Best mouthwash for sore throat



Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!