Interesting and Little-known Facts About Toothaches

Toothache is an uncomfortable feeling that can be caused by problems with your teeth or gums. Some people experience toothache only occasionally while others may experience it on a regular basis. Maintaining good oral and dental hygiene is important for preventing toothache and keeping your teeth healthy as you age. A healthy mouth is also linked to overall physical and emotional well-being. In this article we cover some little known facts about toothaches that you may also find interesting.

Common Causes of Toothaches

infographic detailing on the causes of toothache  

We will be delving into facts about toothaches but before that, you should have an idea of what actually causes toothaches, in case you do not know. Here are a few of the most common causes of toothache:

  • Dental Decay: Dental decay is caused by harmful bacteria and plaque. These bacteria use sugars and starches to make acids that erode enamel over time, leading to tooth decay. 
  • Gum Disease: Gums hold your teeth in place and gum disease can be caused by poor brushing and flossing habits, which lead to plaque buildup. This plaque can cause red, swollen, and tender gums that bleed when you brush or floss them. 
  • Tooth Abscess: A tooth abscess is a bunch of pus that comes from an infection. There are two main types of tooth abscess- one that happens at the tip of the tooth root and other that happens in the gums near the tooth root. 
  • Tooth Fracture: A tooth fracture can happen when you bite down on something hard or when you close your jaw tightly. It can be centered around the chewing surface and may extend towards the root. 

Interesting Facts About Toothaches

The Role of Referred Pain in Toothaches

Some toothaches can be caused by referred pain, which means the pain is actually felt in one place, like your mouth, but the real source of the problem is somewhere else, like a sinus infection or trigeminal neuralgia. Sometimes an earache can also mimic a toothache, or vice versa, because of the way the nerves in our mouth are connected.

Ice As A Natural Pain Relief Solution For Toothaches 

If you’re experiencing a toothache, you know how uncomfortable and debilitating it can be. Fortunately, there are natural ways to relieve the pain, and one of the easiest is to simply apply ice or a cold compress to the affected tooth. To use this method, simply wrap a small pack of ice and hold it against the painful area for fifteen to twenty minutes. Make sure to take a break in between sessions, as prolonged exposure to ice can cause tissue damage.

Foods That Soothe Toothache 

Toothache can make you lose your appetite, but there are some foods that won’t make it any worse. You can eat these foods to relieve your toothache. Here are few of them:

  • Green Leafy vagitables: To avoid toothache, you can eat leafy green vegetables like spinach, lettuce, kale, cabbage, and asparagus. These vegetables are high in folic acid, which is good for your oral health. They also contain a variety of essential minerals and vitamins, which can help improve your oral health. To get the most out of these nutrients, try to buy fresh vegetables from your local grocery store or farmers market.
  • Yogurt and Milk: Milk and yogurt are both good options for treating toothaches. Milk is rich in calcium, which is good for keeping your teeth and bones strong, and yogurt has probiotics, which can help protect your teeth from cavities and gum disease. Eating these foods can help relieve your toothache symptoms quickly and without further damage to your teeth or gums.
  • Strawberry: Strawberries are a good source of fiber and malic acid, both of which are good for your teeth and gums. They also contain vitamin C, which helps strengthen your gums and prevent gum disease. Eating strawberries can be a healthy way to improve your dental health and soothe toothache. 
  • Bouillon: Bouillon can be helpful in relieving toothache. If you choose a Bouillon with low salt, it will be gentle on your teeth and gums. Adding soft cooked vegetables that are high in fiber can also make the broth more nutritious.
  • Chew gum: Chewing gums that are free of sugar helps keep your teeth and gums healthy by neutralizing acids in your mouth, which can erode tooth enamel. It also helps remove food particles and debris from your teeth and gums, reducing the risk of plaque buildup and cavities. Sugarless gum is an excellent alternative to snacks that contribute to tooth decay.
  • Garlic: Garlic is a natural painkiller that can help reduce toothache quickly. You can apply crushed garlic directly to the affected tooth or chew on a clove to get its powerful compounds to work. These compounds can reduce swelling and combat infections.
  • Beans lentils: Beans and lentils are good sources of fiber, and this fiber helps to produce saliva which helps protect your teeth from damage and keeps your gums healthy. Beans and lentils also contain minerals like calcium and magnesium, which are important for strong teeth.

 Toothaches Can Lead To Headaches

man with a headache

Toothaches and headaches are commonly associated due to the interconnectedness of the trigeminal nerve, which is one of the largest nerves in the head. This nerve is responsible for transmitting sensory information from the face and head to the brain. When a toothache occurs, the trigeminal nerve can become irritated and send pain signals to the brain, leading to the development of a headache.

Moreover, toothaches can result in muscle tension and clenching that can cause headaches. The muscles in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) comprising the jaw and cheeks can also be a source of pain that spreads to other muscles in the joint, leading to headaches. Grinding of teeth can also cause tension in the jaw muscles, resulting in pain that can extend to the cheeks and head.

Toothaches Can Be a Sign Of A Heart Attack

Toothaches can potentially be more than just a painful dental problem; they can also be a warning sign of an underlying heart or lung condition. The vagus nerve, which connects the brain to several organs, including the heart and lungs, can cause tooth pain if these organs are experiencing problems. This is because the nerves that supply the teeth and the nerves that supply the heart and lungs share the same pathway to the brain. Therefore, when there is an issue with the heart or lungs, the pain can radiate to the teeth, resulting in toothache.

There are Different Types Of Toothaches 

There are different types of toothaches. These include dull aches, sharp pains, sensitivity to hot and cold and severe throbbing pain. Each type requires a different treatment and prevention plan, and understanding them can help with effective treatment.

Toothaches Send Different Messages

When you have tooth pain, it can tell you different things. For example, if the pain is dull and persistent, it may be a sign that something is stuck in your teeth or that there is an abscessed tooth. If the pain is sharp, it may mean that there is a loose filling or a crown that is coming off. If the pain is throbbing, it may mean that there is some type of damage to your tooth. Sensitivity to hot and cold might be related to worn enamel, tooth decay, or exposed tooth roots.

The Role Of Inflammation in Toothaches

When tooth pain happens, it’s usually due to an inflammation in the soft center of your tooth. This can be caused by things like gum disease or periodontitis, which are both common problems that can lead to toothache. If we can figure out what’s causing the inflammation, we can usually find a way to cure it.

Common Toothache Triggers

Tooth pain can be triggered by different things, such as clenching your teeth, drinking very hot or cold liquids, putting too much pressure on your teeth, biting into something hard, or eating too many sweet foods. Your dentist can help you figure out what is causing your tooth pain and then recommend a treatment plan.

You Can Catch a Toothache Early

dentists treating a patient

Visiting your dentist regularly can help you catch tooth pain early and address any underlying issues before they develop into more significant problems. Ignoring tooth pain can lead to severe dental issues, such as gum disease, tooth decay, or even tooth loss.

Prevention of Toothache 

Maintaining good dental hygiene is crucial for overall health and well-being. Regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste and daily flossing help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. A healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and dairy products also contributes to strong teeth and gums. 

You should avoid sugary and starchy foods and limit intake of acidic drinks.  It is important to protect teeth during sports and other physical activities by wearing mouthguards and helmets. Regular visits to the dentist for cleanings and checkups can detect any dental problems early on and prevent toothaches and other issues from happening. By practicing good dental hygiene habits, adults can maintain a healthy and confident smile.

Final Thoughts 

Toothaches can be a very painful and inconvenient experience. However, there are some interesting facts about toothaches that can help people understand what is happening and how to prevent them. For example, to avoid toothaches, it is important to keep your teeth and gums healthy by following good dental hygiene and eating a healthy diet. Brushing and flossing regularly are also important habits to follow. If you experience a toothache, make sure to see your dentist as soon as possible to get it fixed.