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Common Causes of Toothaches and How to Prevent Them

Common Causes of Toothaches and How to Prevent Them

Are you experiencing persistent pain in your teeth? Have you investigated what might be causing it and how to alleviate it? Continue reading to discover the usual reasons for toothache and ways to avoid it.

From poor oral hygiene to underlying illnesses, this article will provide helpful information for keeping your teeth healthy.

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Gum Disease

Gum disease—or periodontal disease—occurs when the tissue and bone around your teeth become infected from bacteria in plaque. It is a common cause of toothaches that results from poor oral hygiene.

Gum disease can be prevented by brushing regularly, flossing daily, and seeing your dentist for regular dental checkups. Poor oral hygiene allows bacteria to build up between the teeth and gums, forming plaque that causes the soft tissue to become irritated and begin gradually receding. Early intervention by brushing and flossing can resolve minor cases of gum disease, but more serious periods will require professional help from a dentist.

Teeth Grinding/Bruxism

Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is when a person tightly clenches and grinds their teeth. It’s a common condition that can cause jaw pain, headaches, and other issues like tooth wear and breakage. Unfortunately, it often occurs involuntarily during sleep and is hard to spot – the only sign may be tell-tale damage to your teeth.

Bruxism can be caused by stress, or anxiety, or for some people it may have no known causes. If left untreated it can lead to more serious long-term dental problems including irreversible damage to the tooth enamel because of overzealous grinding.

The best approach is prevention or treatment as soon as possible if you spot the signs of the condition. Many treatment methods are available, from mouthguards while sleeping at night or relaxation techniques such as:

  • Physical therapy and behavior modification therapy which teach how to avoid stress-induced grinding through exercises designed to reduce tension in your jaw muscles like yoga or meditation.
  • A doctor may also recommend certain medications such as anti-anxiety medication in extreme cases where behavior modification doesn’t work on its own.

Cavity/Tooth Decay

The cavity or tooth decay is one of the leading causes of toothache. It occurs due to microbial activities that feed off the carbohydrates left on your teeth, creating an acid that erodes enamel and produces a cavity. This can lead to pain, particularly when cold or sweet food and drinks come in contact with the affected area.

In order to prevent cavities, it is important to practice good oral hygiene by brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste as well as flossing at least once each day. Moreover, limiting sugary or acidic foods and beverages can also help protect teeth from decay. Regular dental checkups are also recommended in order to detect any signs of cavities before they become worse and result in pain and other complications. Early treatment will help prevent serious issues in the future.

Abscessed Tooth

An abscessed tooth is a serious dental issue that should be addressed by seeing your dentist as soon as possible. An abscess is an infection caused by bacteria that can spread to other parts of the body if left untreated. When the bacterial infection reaches the tooth root, it causes intense swelling and pain. This can occur if there is a deep cavity, trauma to the tooth, or fractured teeth which allow bacteria to enter through cracks.

Common signs of an abscessed tooth are swelling in the jaw bone and extreme sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures. Some abscesses are so severe they can cause a fever or lymph node swelling along with redness on the affected area of the face or mouth.

Preventing an abscessed tooth starts with taking care of your oral health and regular dental visits for routine exams and professional cleanings. Brushing twice daily and flossing once a day helps prevent cavities which can also turn into abscessed teeth. You should also avoid hard objects like ice cubes when drinking cold beverages or hard candy which can chip teeth resulting in cracks that leave your mouth vulnerable to bacteria leading to infection.

If you have any exceptional discomfort in your mouth, visit your dentist immediately for treatment before it turns into an issue requiring extensive care such as root canal therapy or extraction.


Injury or trauma to the mouth is the second most common cause of toothaches. This includes incidents such as a fall, a blow to the face, or biting down on something hard. When a toothache is caused by injury or trauma, it generally indicates that the bone that supports the tooth has been damaged. The pain may be constant, or you may experience sharp pains when you bite down.

To prevent an injury-induced toothache, it’s important to:

  • Wear a mouthguard when participating in contact sports;
  • Wear a seatbelt reduces the chance of facial injury in car crashes; and
  • Avoid chewing on hard objects like pens or fingernails.

Additionally, if you are already experiencing significant pain in your mouth due to an injury or trauma, visit your dentist immediately for an examination and treatment options.

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last teeth to typically appear in the adult mouth, usually around age 17 to 25. Although some people are able to accommodate their wisdom teeth without pain or dental intervention, this is not the case for many other people. Wisdom tooth pain is caused by a lack of room in the jaw for the additional molar, creating a variety of symptoms that can be uncomfortable and sometimes require medical care.

Potential Causes of Wisdom Tooth Pain:

  • Impacted wisdom tooth – In some cases, a wisdom tooth does not emerge properly from the jawbone and becomes stuck under either gum tissue or bone. This can cause swelling and discomfort as pressure builds between them and the adjacent teeth.
  • Soft tissue involvement – The emergence of wisdom teeth can create folds in the adjacent gum tissue leading to swelling and infection within this area.
  • Decay and infection – Wisdom teeth that become trapped may be more likely to develop decay because they may be harder to brush and floss properly due to their positioning in the back of your mouth.

Abnormal Bite

An abnormal bite resulting in a misalignment of the teeth and jaw can cause pain in the facial area. Poor jaw alignment can lead to the grinding and clenching of teeth which wears them down over time. It may also cause toothaches from intense biting pressure in one specific area. If your toothache is related to an abnormal bite, your dentist may recommend occlusal therapy or braces.

The best way to prevent a toothache caused by an abnormal bite is by regularly visiting your dentist for checkups and cleanings. Your dentist will be able to diagnose any issues such as misalignment early on and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan.

Sinus Congestion

Sinus congestion is one of the common causes of toothache. Sinus infections can lead to pain within the teeth, an achy feeling in the mouth, and even swelling of the jaw or face. When a sinus infection occurs, drainage from it may enter the tooth cavity, leading to an abscess which can cause severe pain.

In order to prevent or reduce sinus congestion-related toothaches, it is important to take precautions against sinus infections. Avoiding allergens that can trigger sinus irritation and nasal congestion, such as dust mites or pet dander, can be helpful. Staying away from cigarette smoke is also essential for preventing sinus infections and related forms of toothache pain.

It’s also important to add foods high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables to your diet – this helps keep your immune system operating well so it’s better equipped to fight off any potential illnesses. Additionally, using a saline rinse is beneficial for clearing out your sinuses in order to avoid excess mucus buildup due to allergies or other conditions that may lead to toothache pain caused by sinus congestion.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the most common causes of toothaches?

Common causes of toothaches include cavities, gum disease, abscesses, tooth clenching or grinding, sensitive teeth, and sinus infections.

How can I prevent a toothache?

To prevent a toothache, you should brush and floss your teeth regularly, visit your dentist for regular check-ups and cleaning, avoid grinding your teeth, and avoid consuming sugary or acidic foods and drinks.

What should I do if I have a toothache?

If you have a toothache, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible to determine the cause and receive the appropriate treatment. In the meantime, you can take over-the-counter pain medication and apply a cold compress to the affected area to help relieve the pain.


In conclusion, toothaches can be caused by many factors and can range from mild to severe. Therefore, proper dental hygiene is critical in reducing your chance of developing a toothache. Regular brushing, flossing and professional check-ups are recommended to help detect and prevent toothaches. Staying aware of changes in your teeth and recognizing the signs of a potential problem can go a long way.

If you experience severe pain or pressure that lasts more than two days, it is important to consult with a dentist as soon as possible.

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