A toothache or tooth pain is caused when the nerve in the root of a tooth or surrounding a tooth is irritated. Toothache occurs from inflammation of the central portion of the tooth called pulp. The pulp contains nerve endings that are very sensitive to pain.
Common causes of a toothache
- Cavities (tooth decay)
- Infection at the root of the tooth
- Damaged or poorly placed fillings or crowns
- Gum infections e.g. gingivitis, periodontitis
- Impacted tooth – A condition in which a tooth fails to fully grow out (erupt) from the gums.
- Gum recession – exposure of the tooth root that was covered by gum or bone
- Tooth sensitivity- occurs when your teeth react to hot and cold liquids or foods
- Repetitive motions, such as chewing gum or grinding teeth. Teeth grinding, or bruxism, occurs when someone grinds their teeth or clenches the jaw, often at night during sleep. Teeth grinding can lead to the teeth being worn out and jaw ache.
- Chipped, cracked or fractured teeth- A minor tooth fracture usually involves chipping of the enamel only. A deeper fracture can involve both the enamel and the dentin of a tooth. Death of pulp tissue can lead to serious tooth infection and abscess. Tooth injury or trauma can happen through any form of an accident that can cause a broken or a knocked out tooth such as accidental falls, car accidents, sporting activities etc
Symptoms of toothache
- Tooth pain that may be sharp, throbbing, or constant.
- In some people, pain results only when pressure is applied to the tooth.
- Swelling of the gum around the tooth
- Bleeding or discharge from around a tooth or gums
- Fever or headache
- Bad taste in the mouth from the infected tooth
How to avoid toothache
- Brushing your teeth properly and regularly with fluoride-containing toothpaste.
- Brushing after every meal- after eating food, particles and sugar might remain on your teeth for too long, providing fuel for bacteria that feeds on it. Always look for a brush whose head and bristles are small enough to reach into the crevices of your molars, where food debris can hide after you eat
- Eat a healthy diet and reduce your intake of sugary foods. The sugars in the food combine with plaque in your mouth to create plaque acid, which sets about damaging your teeth.
- Visit your dentist regularly
- Taking preventive measures like wearing a mouth guard while taking part in extreme sports
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