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Why Do My Teeth Hurt When I’m Sick? Here’s the Connection

Why do my teeth hurt when I'm sick?

Why do my teeth hurt when I'm sick?

Toothaches can be a real pain, especially when you're already feeling under the weather. But did you know that for many people, tooth pain is a common symptom of being sick? In this article, we will delve into the connection between sickness and tooth pain. We will explore the different causes, such as sinus pressure, fever, and changes in diet, and discuss effective remedies to alleviate the discomfort.

Whether you're wondering why your teeth hurt when you're sick or simply looking for ways to alleviate the pain, this article has got you covered.

1. Sinus Pressure Leads to Tooth Pain

Sinus pressure can cause tooth pain when you're sick because the sinuses are located near the roots of the upper teeth. When the sinuses become inflamed and congested, they can put pressure on the roots of these teeth. This pressure can cause pain, especially when you're lying down or bending over.

The maxillary sinuses, located in the cheekbones, are the ones that are closest to the upper teeth. The pain you feel can be referred pain, meaning that the pain is felt in one part of the body (the teeth), but the cause is in another part of the body (the sinuses).

Additionally, when you're sick, the blood vessels in your gums may expand and cause inflammation and pain. This, combined with sinus pressure, can make tooth pain even more severe.

How to Lessen Toothache Brought on by Sinus Pressure

To alleviate tooth pain caused by sinus pressure, some things you can do are:

  • Take over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve pain.
  • Apply a warm compress to your face to help reduce sinus pressure.
  • To assist in clearing your nasal passages, use a saline nasal spray.
  • Elevate your head when you sleep to help reduce pressure on your sinuses.
  • Be sure to stay hydrated to thin mucus and ease congestion.
Inflamed sinuses can put pressure on the roots of your teeth and result in toothache.

Inflamed sinuses can put pressure on the roots of your teeth and result in toothache.

2. A Fever Is Linked to Tooth Pain

Being sick with a fever can lead to tooth pain because an increase in body temperature can cause the blood vessels in your gums to expand. This in turn may contribute to inflammation and pain. Increased blood flow can also cause the nerves in your teeth to become more sensitive, making them more susceptible to pain.

During a fever, your body is working to fight off an infection, and the immune system is activated. The immune response leads to an increase in blood flow, which causes blood vessels to dilate. This leads to inflammation and pain in different parts of your body, including the gums and teeth.

How to Help a Toothache When You Have a Fever

To alleviate tooth pain caused by a fever, some things you can do are:

  • Take over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve pain.
  • Drink plenty of water and fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Try to keep your fever under control by taking a fever reducer, such as acetaminophen.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water to help reduce inflammation in the gums.
  • Brush your teeth gently to remove any plaque or bacteria that may be contributing to tooth pain.
The blood vessels in your gums may swell and hurt if your body temperature rises.

The blood vessels in your gums may swell and hurt if your body temperature rises.

It's helpful to remember that tooth pain caused by a fever is usually temporary and will resolve once the fever subsides. However, if tooth pain persists or is severe, it may be a sign of an underlying dental problem, such as a cavity or infection. It's wise to see a dentist for a proper evaluation.

It's also worth noting that if the fever is caused by a bacterial infection, your dentist or doctor may prescribe antibiotics. This will help treat the infection and alleviate pain.

It's imperative to follow the general guidelines for taking care of yourself when you're sick, such as getting enough rest, staying hydrated, and keeping your fever under control. Taking care of yourself during an illness can help to alleviate tooth pain and other symptoms, and help you to recover more quickly.

3. Comfort Food Might Hurt Your Teeth

Changes in diet can cause tooth pain when you're sick because certain foods and drinks can lead to tooth sensitivity or damage to tooth enamel. When you're sick, you may crave sugary or acidic foods, which can damage your tooth enamel and cause tooth sensitivity.

Foods high in sugar can lead to an increase in tooth decay, as the bacteria that live in your mouth thrive on sugar. They produce acid as a byproduct of metabolism, which can erode your enamel, leading to tooth sensitivity and pain.

Acidic foods and drinks can also erode the enamel on your teeth, leading to tooth sensitivity and pain. Acid can soften the enamel, making it more vulnerable to damage from brushing or chewing.

Another reason why your teeth may hurt when you are sick is that you may not be brushing or flossing as often as you usually do. This can lead to plaque build-up and tooth decay.

How to Reduce Tooth Pain Associated With Diet

To alleviate tooth pain caused by changes in diet, some things you can do are:

  • Avoid sugary or acidic foods and drinks.
  • Regularly floss and brush your teeth to get rid of plaque and bacteria.
  • After eating or drinking, swish some water around in your mouth.
  • Chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva flow and neutralize acids in the mouth.
  • Use toothpaste and mouthwash specifically designed to help with tooth sensitivity.
It might not be best for your teeth to eat certain comfort foods when you are ill.

It might not be best for your teeth to eat certain comfort foods when you are ill.

4. A Dental Infection May Be to Blame

If you're sick due to a dental infection, such as an abscessed tooth or gum infection, you will very likely experience tooth pain.

  • A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus that forms at the end of a tooth or in the gums, caused by a bacterial infection.
  • A gum infection, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums, bone, and other supporting structures of the teeth. This infection is caused by a buildup of plaque and bacteria.

Both tooth abscesses and gum infections can cause tooth pain, swelling, redness, and sensitivity in the affected area. In some cases, the pain may be severe and accompanied by a fever, foul breath, and even difficulty opening the mouth.

Tooth abscesses and gum infections are caused by bacterial infections, so it's wise to seek professional treatment as soon as possible. A dentist or oral surgeon can drain the abscess and remove the infected tissue, and may also prescribe antibiotics to help clear the infection. If left untreated, a tooth abscess can spread to other parts of the body and cause serious health problems.

How to Reduce Pain Caused by Dental Infection

To alleviate tooth pain caused by dental infections, some things you can do are:

  • Visit a dentist or oral surgeon as soon as possible to have the infection treated.
  • Use over-the-counter analgesics to relieve pain.
  • Keep the affected area clean by brushing and flossing your teeth regularly.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water to help reduce inflammation in the gums.
  • Follow the treatment plan prescribed by your dentist or oral surgeon, including taking prescribed antibiotics as directed.
If you have an abscessed tooth or infected gums, your dentist can treat your tooth pain.

If you have an abscessed tooth or infected gums, your dentist can treat your tooth pain.

Final Thoughts

If you're experiencing tooth pain during an illness, it's helpful to understand the potential causes and explore different remedies. By taking care of your teeth and gums, you can help alleviate the pain and get back to feeling better.

If your tooth pain persists or is severe, it's wise to see a dentist or a doctor as soon as possible. This is because they will be able to determine if the tooth pain is related to a dental issue or another underlying illness.

If the pain persists or you have other symptoms such as fever, swollen gums, or pus coming from your gums, you should see a dentist as soon as possible.

Sources and Further Reading

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2023 Louise Fiolek