Why Do My Teeth Hurt?

woman with a cold

A variety of things can cause sensitivity in your teeth, including extreme heat and cold. One less common factor that can cause tooth pain is a cold or sinus infection. Pressure in your sinuses can cause discomfort in your teeth because of the proximity of the tooth roots to the sinus cavities. However, it is important to ensure there is not a more serious underlying cause that might require treatment.

If you have symptoms of a cold, flu or a sinus infection, particularly congestion and pressure in the sinuses, your tooth pain could be related to them. Your sinuses and your teeth and their nerves are close enough to each other that pressure and pain in the sinuses can travel to your mouth. The Indian Dental Association notes that pain arising from non-dental sources such as maxillary sinusitis, myofascial inflammation, migraine, nasal tissues, ears, temporomandibular joints, anginas and neuralgias always must be considered and excluded.

Congestion in the ears and Eustachian tubes is also common in conjunction with a cold. Pressure in these areas can cause discomfort in the back teeth and in the roof of the mouth. Unless you have an ear infection, treatment for congestion in the ears is similar to treatment for sinus or nasal congestion. If your ears hurt and feel like they are full of liquid, or you feel pressure on your ear drums and experience frequent "popping" in your ears, see your doctor to rule out an ear infection. You might need antibiotics if your ears are infected.

If you are experiencing tooth pain, without any symptoms of the common cold and not sure what's causing it, it is best to talk to your doctor or dentist to get a definitive diagnosis. Some causes of tooth pain can be serious and require prompt treatment to prevent serious side effects. Issues that could be causing or contributing to your tooth pain include gum disease, tooth decay, enamel erosion, wear and tear and teeth clenching and grinding.

How to Ease Discomfort When a Cold Makes Your Teeth Hurt

If congestion from a cold, flu or a sinus infection is making your teeth hurt, try to relieve the pressure in your sinuses. Your doctor might prescribe decongestants, or you can use over-the-counter decongestants to reduce the pressure. A hot washcloth on your face can also help relieve the pain. Over-the-counter pain medication can also be helpful. Other remedies you can try include:

·     Rest and extra sleep

·     Warm beverages and soup

·     Cold medications that thin the mucus causing your congestion

·     Throat lozenges or tea with honey to soothe sore throat caused by sinus drainage

If you do have a sinus issue, you should see your doctor, particularly if it is persistent and / or associated with fever. This could be a sign of severe sinusitis.

Your teeth might hurt due to sensitivity. If your teeth are uncomfortable when they are exposed to cold, heat or pressure, they might benefit from a toothpaste such as Colgate® Sensitive toothpaste. If the discomfort in your teeth seems not to be related to a cold or sinus problems, be sure to talk to your dentist for a definitive diagnosis and recommendation for treatment.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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