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Can A Migraine And Tooth Pain Be Related?

People often use the word " headache " to describe a particularly annoying problem that's confronting them. But far too many people suffer from actual headaches, even migraines in many cases. These painful headaches can come with a variety of symptoms, not all of them limited to the head. In some instances, there's a link between having a migraine and tooth pain.

What Is a Migraine?

According to the Migraine Research Foundation, a migraine is not just a powerful headache. Chronic daily migraine sufferers can have up to 15 days per month marred by a migraine, and episodes can last from four hours to as long as three days. Migraines can also be accompanied by nausea, dizziness, facial tingling and sensitivity to light and sound. They can cause people who experience them to be absent from work and school, and come with an increased risk of other conditions such as depression and anxiety.

Here are common oral issues that can cause both a migraine and tooth pain.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)

TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder, results when the modified ball and socket joint that connects your upper and lower jaw doesn't function correctly. The joint's main purpose is to move the lower jaw in three directions: forward, backward and side-to-side. TMJ can feel as though your jaw clicks and pops, or as if it becomes momentarily stuck.

Severe headaches, a clicking sound and tender jaw muscles are common TMJ symptoms. Your dentist can diagnose TMJ for certain and offer you solutions for jaw pain. Reducing symptoms related to muscle tension can alleviate the accompanying headache you may have. Other coping mechanisms for a TMJ headache include avoiding excess chewing (such as chewing gum), making time for regular exercise and massaging your jaw.

Teeth Grinding

Bruxism is the act of grinding or clenching your teeth, and it affects 30 to 40 million people in the United States alone. Bruxism occurs in some patients only at night while they sleep, while others grind their teeth throughout the day. It can be caused by stress, misaligned teeth or nerve and muscle diseases in the face. Symptoms can include morning headaches, grinding sounds at night, tight jaw muscles and cracked or damaged teeth. If you display any of these symptoms, seek out your dentist for a proper diagnosis.

If your teeth grinding is related to dental issues, your dentist can solve it by fixing your alignment or fitting you for an anti-grinding mouth guard. Stress-related bruxism can be treated with professional counseling, relaxation techniques or prescription medication. Mayo Clinic notes that children tend to outgrow teeth grinding. If not, behavior changes, biofeedback (a technique that monitors muscle activity) and even Botox injections are other treatment options to consider.


Some dental problems can also cause headaches, notes Mayo Clinic. Curing the toothache and accompanying headache requires a dentist's help if the cause stems from a cavity or gum issue.

If you think your migraine and tooth pain are related, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Note any oral issues that occur in conjunction with the migraine . If the two are linked, your dentist should be able to diagnose and suggest a course of treatment not only for the oral care issue but also to provide relief from the migraine .

Another way to prevent decay and infection that can feel like a migraine and tooth pain is to maintain proper proactive oral care. That means brushing at least two times a day and flossing daily. If stress, headaches or TMJ is causing you to grind your teeth, talk to your dental professional. Don't keep silent about your pain. Even a headache is something your dentist may be able to help you with!

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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