Dental cavities or tooth decay is mentioned as a main cause of toothache on medline plus. A poor dental hygiene result in tooth decay and when infection progresses through enamel, a hard white substance covering crown of teeth, you feel pain sensation. You may experience a sudden pain that can vary from mild discomfort to throbbing sensation. Penetration of infection in pulp, innermost layer of teeth, leads to formation of dental abscess. Such abscess damages sensitive nerves and blood vessels and can result in sharp and unbearable pain.
Gum diseases such as swollen gums, bleeding gums and pus formation can also contribute to toothache in majority of cases.
Here you may experience a pain on eating or drinking hot, cold, sweet and sour foods. Teeth sensitivity is the result of exposure of “dentine” a layer below to tooth enamel. Eating above-mentioned foods causes fluid movement in dentine that stimulates nerve endings and result in sharp tooth pain. Sensitivity is due to receded gums, gums diseases, teeth grinding or cracked tooth.
Referred tooth pain
As mentioned on medscape family medicine sometimes toothache may be related to causes other than tooth pathology. Headache like migraine and paroxysmal hemicranias produce pain in a maxillary molar area. Trigeminal neuralgia, a clinical condition characterized by one-sided headache can also cause toothache. This is due to common innervations of these areas by branches of trigeminal nerve. Diseases of temporomandibular joint, a joint of the jaw, may be associated with dental pain.
It is very important to ensure such extra-dental causes of toothache before initiating proper treatment.
Sinus infection is one of the major reasons for toothache, particularly affecting upper teeth having close proximity to them. Inflamed sinuses put constant pressure on teeth root causing toothache. Sinus infection may be related with tooth decay, tooth fracture and impacted wisdom teeth, all causing toothache.
Any type of facial or dental trauma due to fall or accident can cause fracture in tooth. Such traumatic tooth leaves you more vulnerable to catching bacterial infection and deposition of plaque that can lead to toothache.
People having a habit of grinding or clenching teeth may be prone to toothache. Medically, this habit is called as ‘bruxism’. Regular tooth grinding can cause an excessive load on supporting tissues and result in fracture and loss of tooth that ultimately result in toothache.
Tips to avoid toothache
Following tips are definitely worth taking in order to maintain dental hygiene and avoid toothache.
- Maintain good oral hygiene:
A habit of regular brushing and flossing is still your best bet to ward off dental infection.
Dentist always advises on brushing teeth twice daily with a toothpaste containing fluoride. Flossing help to remove food particles lodge in between teeth.
- Select toothbrush wisely:
Use soft toothbrush and don’t brush harshly as this can damage protective tooth enamel.
- Be smart on food choices:
Limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks in order to prevent tooth decay. Avoid acidic foods such as wine or soft drinks as they can damage tooth enamel.
- See your dentist on earlier:
If you notice toothache immediately seek dentist advice.