4 Reasons Why You Might Have Toothache

Toothache is one of the worst pain that you can have and, if you have ever felt a flash of pain in your gums or prolonged aches and pains, then you’re not alone. A study has shown that around 22% of adults have experienced tooth pain in the last 6 months. 

Toothache can be caused by many different reasons. Whilst most of the time it can be nothing serious to worry about, a toothache can be a sign of something more serious. Most often, the likely explanation behind toothache is tooth sensitivity or an infection, but it can also indicate other dental issues which need addressing. With this in mind, let’s take a look at just some of the reasons why you might be suffering with a toothache and how you might be able to treat it.

What Is Toothache? 

Toothache is as painful as it is because your tooth is a soft material that is filled with tissue, nerves and blood vessels. These nerves are amongst the most sensitive in your body, meaning that when they are inflamed, irritated or infected, this will cause the pain to feel much more severe. Some symptoms of toothache include a sharp, throbbing or constant pain, swelling around the tooth, a fever or headache or bad breath. 

4 Reasons Why You Might Have Toothache

Gum Recession 

Your gums are a layer of pink tissue that covers the bone and root of the tooth to protect the nerve endings of your teeth. As you get older, the gum tissue often begins to wear down, which is the leading cause of gum recession. This gum recession leaves the roots of your teeth exposed and can leave you more vulnerable to developing tooth infections and gum disease. 

If you’ve noticed that your gum line has been receding in recent years or that your teeth are more sensitive than they used to be, then gum recession could be the reason behind this toothache. As your teeth will be more exposed than they have been previously, it’s important to ensure that you are taking proper care of them. Be sure to gently brush in between your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and floss daily. It’s also recommended that you visit your dental hygiene specialist twice a year.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay, also known as cavities, might be another reason why your teeth have suddenly developed a sensitivity or you’re experiencing a toothache. Tooth decay is an issue that affects your tooth enamel and can go unnoticed for quite some time. Once the decay begins to develop and turn into an infection, this is when you might start experiencing pain and sensitivity. If you have noticed a sudden, sharp pain in one notable tooth, then this can be a sign that tooth decay has set in and you may need a filling or, in some cases, even tooth removal. 

DIY Teeth Whitening

If you use at home or DIY whitening kits on your teeth to achieve the smile of your dreams, you might be contributing to your tooth sensitivity, which can develop into a toothache. Home teeth whitening kits are often unregulated and contain harsh chemicals that, in the process of whitening your teeth, can strip them of their natural enamel coating. This then leaves the dentine of your tooth exposed, leading to sensitivity and toothache. 

Prolonged use of home teeth whitening kits can seriously damage your teeth, so if you want the best results, whilst also protecting your dental health, it’s best to visit a private dentist who can carry out a check of your teeth and recommend the best teeth whitening treatment for the results you want to achieve. 

Cosmetic Dental Treatments

Some cosmetic dental treatments, such as dental implants and veneers, require quite invasive treatment in order to be carried out. This can include dental surgery, tooth extraction, enamel shaving or drilling. If you’ve recently had cosmetic dental treatment and are experiencing a toothache, then this is likely a natural part of your healing process and should be monitored. 

If it continues past a reasonable time of healing, such as a few weeks, then this should be investigated by your dentist. This is especially true for veneers or dental implants, where changes had to be made to your teeth and mouth and could indicate infection at the site. 

When To See A Dentist

If your teeth have suddenly become sensitive in a way that they never were before, or you suddenly develop a prolonged and painful toothache, then this indicates that there may be something underlying that is causing the discomfort. In this case, it is recommended that you make an appointment to visit your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist will be able to tell you if you need a certain treatment procedure, such as a tooth extraction or filling, to relieve your pain, or a more simple treatment such as a sensitive toothpaste. 

How To Avoid Toothache Where Possible

Now that we know what might have caused the toothache, we will also look at how you can prevent it from happening again!

Have A Thorough Oral Health Routine

Something really simple that can positively impact all areas of your mouth, teeth and gums is to have a thorough oral health routine. It would be worth speaking to your dentist about this in more detail as they may be able to give more personalised advice on the best products for you. 

However, generally, you should be brushing your teeth thoroughly twice a day with an electric toothbrush, you should floss once a day (preferably in the evening to remove any trapped food from the day) and you should also use fluoride mouthwash twice a day. Fluoride is really important as it helps to prevent tooth decay, a major cause of toothache. 

Investing a total of 5 minutes a day in your oral health by having a good routine can be transformative. 

See Your Dentist Twice A Year

It is also essential that you see your dentist twice a year, even if you aren’t experiencing any problems. Your dentist will be able to pick up on oral health-related issues far sooner than you may be able to, meaning treatment will usually be cheaper and less invasive. Also, they might spot things that you could never notice. This could be something less serious like you grinding your teeth slightly in your sleep or something as serious as mouth cancer. 

Paying for a visit to your dentist and hygienist twice a year to keep your mouth healthy is also far more cost effective than waiting for an issue to arise and having to treat it. Over time, plaque inevitably builds up in the mouth, so visiting your hygienist also allows this to be removed, to prevent problems like tooth decay. 

Limit Your Intake of Sugary Foods and Drinks

Sugary foods and drinks are not only bad for your physical health, but also your oral health, as they can produce acids in the mouth that attack enamel, causing weaknesses that can then develop into more serious problems such as toothache, sensitivity and even tooth loss and gum disease. 

So, cut down your intake of sugary foods and drinks where possible. If avoiding them completely is not realistic for you, then make sure to have a drink of water afterwards and brush your teeth around 30 minutes after you eat or drink something sugary. 

Reduce Consumption of Very Hot or Cold Drinks

Another thing that you should look at reducing is your intake of very hot or cold drinks in particular situations. If it is very cold outside and you drink a very hot drink, you can actually develop microchips in your enamel, causing sensitivity and pain. Similarly, with very cold drinks, the enamel on your teeth can weaken, making it much more likely that staining or decay can occur.

Drink More Water

Now we’ve talked about what you should eat and drink less of to protect your teeth, let’s talk about what you can eat more of… water! Drinking cool or room temperature water makes sure that your mouth produces enough saliva to wash away excess food and to also wash them with calcium, phosphate and fluoride. It also helps to rinse away bacteria to fight cavities and gum disease. Water is also the best drink to avoid staining your teeth!

Final Thoughts

Many people push their oral health to the back of their priority list, however, it should be right up there with the rest of your health. Toothache can be an indication of something more serious, so if you are ever concerned about anything, it is really important that you book a dentist appointment and get it sorted. This might seem like a chore, but going now is so much better than leaving the issue to develop and needing much more severe and invasive treatment a few months down the line. 

You shouldn’t have to put up with toothache (nor is it safe too), so it’s time to get it sorted and see your dentist.


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