There’s nothing like toothaches to ruin a good day. And we’re not just addressing the discomfort of the pain, but all the other issues such problems tend to bring along with them: slowdowns in the ability to get things done, loss of productivity at work, and more. Fortunately, there’s more than one way to prevent tooth decay and similar problems; here’s what one must know about toothaches.
The Causes of Toothache
Tooth decay is the most likely cause of toothache. Plaque is an invisible film made up of saliva, food particles, and billions of bacteria that clings to the surface of the teeth. When plaque doesn’t leave the teeth for a significantly long period, it hardens to form tartar, which irritates the gums. This irritation can result in swollen, tender gums that are painful to touch.
While the most common cause of toothache is a dental cavity that’s infected or inflamed, toothaches can also be caused by gum disease, cracked teeth, loose fillings, impacted wisdom teeth, cavities in the root of the tooth, food trapped between the teeth, an abscessed tooth or periodontal disease.
If one has toothache because of a cavity, they may feel sensitivity to sweet, hot, or cold foods as the decay reaches the middle layer of the tooth. When it spreads to the nerve center of the tooth or pulp, they’ll have a toothache. The result may be a dull ache or agonizing, throbbing pain.
With an abscess, pus collects in the tooth or on the tooth root. Common symptoms include pain and swelling on one side of the face near a tooth, a bad taste in the mouth, tenderness when one touches or moves the jaw, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, chills, nausea, and a fever. If one notices anything like this, they must reach out to a dentist right away.
How to Prevent a Toothache
One can prevent toothaches by practicing good oral hygiene. Brush two times every day with fluoride-based toothpaste, floss each night and visit the dentist twice annually for a routine checkup and for cavity-preventing professional cleanings. This will help to prevent cavities, which are the main culprits behind painful toothaches.
Sticky foods and drinks, such as pastries and chewing gum, can deposit bacteria on the teeth and be a breeding ground for cavity-causing plaque. To help avoid toothache, one should eat a balanced diet that includes lots of fruits, vegetables, and grains. Also, limit snacks between meals and sweet or sticky foods and drinks. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid damaging sensitive gums.