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How Toothache and Headache Are Related?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Kavita Kamraj B. 88% (18 ratings)
MS Restorative, Certificate SMR, BDS
Dentist, Mumbai  •  10 years experience
How Toothache and Headache Are Related?

One of the main reasons of a severe headache is a prolonged toothache. Toothaches are extremely painful and can prevent you from enjoying your food. It becomes difficult to speak if the toothache is unbearable.

Causes of Toothache:

  1. Tooth decay

  2. Tooth fracture resulting from an accident.

  3. A painful infection at the root of your teeth or your gums. This is known as tooth abscess.

  4. Chewing gum continuously and grinding the teeth.

How does toothache cause headache?

Sometimes, a tooth becomes very inflamed and since the nerve endings are connected to the brain, this in turn makes the pain travel to different parts of your head. Generally, people with bad cavities or caries have major headaches and migraines.

The inside of a tooth consists of a pulp. This pulp can get infected. If this tooth happens to lie in the upper jaw, then the pain is transferred to the head which can cause a severe headache.

Headaches can also be caused by TMJD (Temporomandibular joint dysfunction). This usually occurs spreading from the face, jawline and neck right up to the head. In extreme cases, the jaws might be locked up and it makes clicking or grinding noises. Misalignment of the teeth can be a cause by TMJD which in turn affects the head greatly.

Treatments:

If you are detected with TMJD, your jaws need to be healed, so that the pain doesn't spread to your head. Hence, dental help is needed. Sometimes, surgery is also required to get rid of TMJD.

If the headache persists due to toothache, it is advisable to take a painkiller as prescribed by your dentist.

Use an ice pack or a towel dipped in cold icy water, and hold it against the area of toothache. Do not put ice directly on your tooth as it might increase the pain ten folds due to tooth sensitivity.

You can also apply numbing gel so that your tooth stops hurting. This in turn, will make your headache reduce.

Toothache is also caused by small amounts of food which get stuck inside your teeth or between your gums, so it is necessary to clean your teeth thoroughly and floss it regularly to avoid toothache.

Avoid chocolates and sweets. If you still get a cavity, you should visit your dentist immediately.

Dental abscess also causes headache. In this situation a root canal treatment is recommended. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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