Why Do My Teeth Hurt? — 15 Possible Causes of Your Tooth Pain

tara.anders Dentistry, Oral Health

Have you ever woken up one day and your teeth just started hurting, seemingly for no reason? There are a number of different conditions that can cause tooth pain. Some can be easily resolved on your own while others will require a trip to your general dentist. Here are some of the most common possible causes of your tooth pain.

You Clench Your Jaw

One of the leading causes of tooth pain is clenching. Many people clench their jaws when they are angry, concentrating, or in tense situations. When you clench your jaw, your teeth are having to bear pressure that they are not meant to endure. Over time, this bad coping mechanism can cause your teeth to ache or even become loose. If you get toothaches after experiencing stress or anger, you may be clenching your jaw. Finding other ways to cope with stress and emotions can make your tooth pain go away.

You Grind Your Teeth

Grinding teeth is another way some people cope with stress and anger. Many people grind their teeth at night without realizing it. If you suspect that you might be grinding your teeth in your sleep, talk to your dentist about remedies. One of the easiest ways to stop toothaches that result from grinding is by wearing a mouth guard while you sleep to protect your teeth.

You Rinse Your Mouth Too Often

Using an oral rinse daily can lend to good dental health. However, overdoing it can have harmful effects. Rinsing with mouthwash multiple times each day can lead to tooth sensitivity. This is because many mouthwashes contain acids that cause damage to your teeth’s middle layer. If you are experiencing tooth pain and find that you reach for your mouthwash multiple times a day, the cure to your toothaches could be as simple as reducing the number of times you swish to just once or twice a day.

You Have a Sinus Infection

A very common indication of a sinus infection is tooth pain in your back upper teeth. This makes sense because of the close proximity to your nasal passages. If you have tooth pain and are feeling stuffy, there’s a good chance you may have a sinus infection. You should go to your doctor to receive the proper treatment.

You Have TMJ Disorder

The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is what allows your jaw to move up and down. This joint is essentially the hinge that connects your jaw and skull to each other. Arthritis, injury, and other conditions can prevent parts of your TMJ from working correctly. This can cause a great deal of pain in your jaw and teeth when you chew. Talk to your dentist if you think you may be experiencing issues with your TMJ.

You’re Pregnant

Pregnancy increases your likelihood of gingivitis. Gingivitis the term given to the inflammation of the gums and can cause bloody gums and tooth pain. While you are pregnant you are also more prone to getting cavities. Pay close attention to your dental health during your pregnancy, and you may want to see your dentist during this time.

You Work Out Too Hard

This is one of the more surprising possible cause of tooth pain. According to studies, endurance training can cause your tooth enamel to wear down and lead to a higher likelihood of cavities. More intense workout schedules lead to higher chances of cavities. It is unclear exactly why this is the case, but it could be because of the change in saliva production during exercise. If you are training for a triathlon and experience tooth pain, your intense training schedule could be the culprit.

You Have Nerve Damage

One possible but uncommon cause of tooth pain is a condition called trigeminal neuralgia. This is a specific type of nerve damage that leads to chronic nerve pain in your head that can sometimes feel like a toothache. Eating, drinking, and brushing your teeth can all cause you to feel pain. Though this condition is uncommon, if you experience chronic pain like this, it could be worth a trip to your doctor.

You Are Experiencing Heart Problems

When combined with other symptoms, tooth pain can sometimes be an indicator of heart problems. Pain in your upper body including your neck, shoulders, teeth, and jaw can be a symptom of a heart attack. Pay close attention if in addition to mouth pain you are experiencing things like sweating, chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, or nausea.

You Have Recently Whitened Your Teeth

Some teeth whiteners can cause tooth pain. Tooth sensitivity can begin two to three days after starting a whitening treatment. Depending on your teeth, the tooth sensitivity could go away after just a few days or may last longer. Whitening your teeth can lead to your gums feeling irritated, too. If you are experiencing a lot of pain while undergoing whitening treatment, consult your general dentist. They may suggest you stop the treatment or switch to a whitening agent that is gentler on your teeth.

Your Gums Are Receding

Your gums protect your teeth’s nerves. As they recede, they pull back to expose those nerves, causing tooth sensitivity and tooth pain. Receding gums can be the result of brushing too hard over a long period of time, or they can be a sign of something more serious like gum disease. Other symptoms of gum disease include bad breath, bloody gums when you brush, mouth sores, and pus. If these symptoms accompany your tooth pain, make an appointment to see your dentist.

You Have Oral Cancer

A symptom of oral cancer is chronic mouth and tooth pain that won’t go away. If your mouth or teeth are hurting and the pain does not go away and you notice an unusual bump or odd-colored patch, tell your dentist about your concern so that they can perform an oral cancer check.

You Eat Too Many Acidic Foods

Foods that are highly acidic can destroy the enamel on your teeth. These foods include things like citrus, soda, coffee, and sugary candies. When your tooth enamel is worn away, your teeth become more susceptible to painful tooth decay or nerve exposure. If you eat lot of acidic foods, cut back and try eating a more balanced diet to save yourself from unnecessary tooth pain.

You Frequently Throw Up

When you throw up, your stomach acid can get on your teeth. When this happens frequently, that strong acid can do a lot of damage to your teeth. Some conditions that are associated with frequent vomiting are gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), chronic alcoholism, pregnancy, and bulimia. The damage that throwing up too much does to your teeth can cause tooth pain and other issues. If you think this may be the cause of your tooth pain, see your doctor to discuss treatment options.

You Do Not Drink Enough Water

Not drinking enough water can be troublesome for your teeth for many reasons. Water washes away the leftover pieces of food stuck in your teeth after eating. In many residential areas, the water is full of fluoride, which helps your teeth maintain their strength. Staying hydrated also keeps you from experiencing the negative side effects of having a dry mouth. Drink more water to keep your teeth healthy and avoid tooth pain.

Make an Appointment with a Knoxville Dentist

If you are experiencing tooth pain or any other dental health issues, a general dentist can help you identify and fix the problem. University General Dentists in Knoxville, TN, uses state-of-the-art technology to help you maintain your dental health. If your teeth are hurting, schedule an appointment with us today at one of our two convenient locations so that we can help you feel better. Call our University of Tennessee Medical Center Office at 865-305-9440 or our West Knoxville Office at 865-500-5700.