CAN YOUR TOOTHACHE TRIGGER HEADACHES?

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Are you experiencing toothache and headache together? These two symptoms may be related, and your toothache may be the root cause of your headache or migraine here. You may feel sharp pain around your head, including the scalp, behind the eyes, cheeks, and sometimes even in the ear and jaw.

If you're wondering how can tooth pain and headache be related, then read on to understand their connection.

Do toothaches cause headaches?

You may experience a toothache causing headache in return. Toothache can develop due to many possible reasons, like cavities, affected wisdom tooth, or even a cracked tooth. If these conditions are not treated on time, you may develop a toothache causing headache and eye pain. This headache or migraine can be throbbing at times, leading to one-sided headaches associated with nausea, vomiting, and light or sound sensitivity in most cases.

As per the experts, the relation between toothache-headache is the trigeminal nerve, which is a cranial nerve. It is due to this nerve that you can feel the movements and sensations of your eye and face, including your lips, gums and teeth. The toothache may irritate this trigeminal nerve, thus triggering a migraine.

What is referred tooth pain to your head?

Just like you may experience a toothache causing headache, other dental problems like tooth decay or gum disease can refer pain to your head too. This pain usually occurs in an area other than the area that's actually causing the pain. The different nerves that connect the facial structures and teeth via the trigeminal nerve to the brain can cause pain when irritated. If you experience migraines when you're facing toothaches or other dental problems, you can consult your doctor or dentist for further advice.

Bruxism


Bruxism, a disorder where a person routinely grinds their teeth often at night, is one such example of referred pain to the head. The symptoms of Bruxism include:

  • A dull headache or dull pain behind the eyes

  • Sore teeth and jaw muscles

  • Clicking in the jaw joint

  • Difficulty in the movement of the mouth

Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis


Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis is a rare and serious condition in which blood clot gets formed in the cavernous sinus, which is a space in the brain behind the eye. The clot is a result of an infection in the face, sinuses or teeth that spreads to the brain. Following are the symptoms of this blood clot:

  • Severe headache, often behind the eye or on the forehead

  • High fever

  • Weakness of the eye movement

  • Swelling of the eyelids

  • Proptosis or eyeball protrusion1

It is crucial to seek immediate medical attention if you suffer from any of the above symptoms.

Can migraine cause toothache too?

While many of us experience toothache and headache caused by a toothache, others can also experience toothache caused by migraine. This condition is called neurovascular orofacial pain, where you can experience a migraine attack that may lead to toothache. Although migraine very rarely affects the middle of your face, it can affect your teeth.2

Ways to ease toothaches

Toothaches can occur at any time of the day when you have a dental problem. And sometimes, seeing a doctor right away may not be possible (like toothaches that occur at night). So, here are some tips that can help you ease the toothache until you see your dentist.

  • Saltwater rinse:

    Mix some salt in a glass of warm water and swish it around in your mouth. Spit it out; you can also floss around the sore tooth gently to get rid of any food particles stuck in or around it.

  • Cold compress:

    If you feel your cheek or jawline is swollen, you can apply an ice pack to help ease the pain.

  • Clove oil:

    Rub a couple of clove oil drops on the sore tooth or soak a cotton ball in the oil and dab it to the affected area and gums. This helps in numbing the pain.

  • Peppermint tea:

    Cool a peppermint tea bag in the refrigerator and apply it to the sore tooth and gums to soothe the pain.

These pain relief methods might help in easing the pain temporarily. So, if you experience any pain – be it severe or short-lived, it's better to consult your dentist to ward off any serious dental problems.3

Tips to prevent toothache

Most toothaches are a result of tooth decay, so following good dental hygiene and care is essential to prevent toothaches and ultimately migraines that maybe caused by it. Here are some practices that you must follow for healthy teeth and gums:

  • Brush regularly:

    It is a good habit to brush your teeth at least twice a day with a good fluoride-containing toothpaste. Brush across the front, top and back surfaces of your teeth for a thorough cleaning. Oral-B's iO Series electric toothbrush is perfect for daily dental cleaning. It comes with new iO™ technology that provides you with a fresh, clean mouthfeel and healthier gums. Moreover, it also features an interactive display and 3D teeth tracking that make brushing your teeth a smoother experience.

  • Rinse often:

    Try rinsing your mouth with water, possibly after every meal so that there are no food particles stuck inside. It is best to rinse once or twice daily with a good fluoride-based or antiseptic mouthwash.

  • Floss daily:

    Flossing makes sure there are no food particles stuck in between your teeth. It is one of the important steps in preventing tooth decay and cavities. Now flossing the hard-to-reach places in your mouth can be a little difficult, and for this, you need a good floss like Oral-B's Essential Mint Dental Floss. Get squeaky clean teeth with its shred-resistant technology.

  • Routine dental check-up:

    Don't forget to visit your dentist for a routine check-up twice a year. This way, you can avoid the risks of serious dental issues and will be able to get them treated at the earliest. Also, you may try and avoid sugary foods, as they can lead to teeth demineralisation.

Identifying the tooth pain - headache connection can be challenging. If you experience tooth pain and headache simultaneously, it's possible that your toothache has triggered the migraine, or you are simply experiencing referred pain to the head. However, once diagnosed, you can act on the situation with a treatment plan recommended by your doctor.

One thing to keep in mind is following a healthy and hygienic dental routine which is the key to preventing dental problems.