Toothache refers to the sudden pain around and in teeth and jaws which is commonly caused by tooth decay. This pain varies from mild discomfort to a severe and excruciating throbbing which worsens at night. During toothache, the area around your jaws particularly closer to the infected tooth may develop soreness and tenderness which is painful and sensitive to touch.
Sufferers of toothache find eating or drinking difficult mainly because of the pain that these activities provoke. This is especially the case where the drink or food in question is cold or hot.
Supporting the teeth is a network of nerves which are also responsible for the sensitivity and pain. When the teeth are irritated, these nerves release chemicals in the neurotransmitters to help defend the teeth against infection. These chemicals when present in large quantities cause inflammation of the gums hence toothache.
Causes of Toothache
Toothache happens when the dental pulp which is the innermost layer of the teeth become inflamed. The dental pulp consists of delicate and soft tissue permeated by a network of sensitive nerves and blood vessels. The common causes of toothache include:
Tooth Infection – Teeth are prone to infections because of the mere fact that they are located in the mouth which is a gateway between the external and internal environment. Most foods begin their digestion in the mouth and this exposes the teeth to infection hence toothache.
Gum disease – There are diseases that target the gums surrounding the teeth. Gum diseases are normally characterized by soreness and even small boils that can be painful and cause the whole tooth to ache.
Grinding teeth – Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding is a condition where the person affected clenches or gnashes their teeth. This grinding can either happen during the day or at night and causes severe stress to the teeth causing them to ache.
Tooth trauma – Scientifically known as dental trauma, tooth trauma happens when the teeth or the periodontium which consists of the periodontal ligament, gums and alveolar bone gets physically injured.
An abnormal bit – This is a condition caused by unaligned or improperly biting teeth. This makes the jaws to crack or hurt potentially causing toothache.
Symptoms Accompanying a Toothache
The symptoms manifested during toothache resemble other dental problems. However, there are particular symptoms that rule out other medical conditions hence critical in diagnosing toothache. These symptoms include:
Pus appearing near the affected tooth – This may be caused by an abscessed tooth that in turn causes the surrounding bone to be infected. The pus may also be an indication of gum disease which is closely linked with toothache.
Other symptoms are; swelling around the affected tooth, difficulty in chewing and swallowing, a foul-tasting and smelly discharge, continuous lasting pain and pain when drinking or eating cold foods.
Home Remedies for Toothaches
Whenever you experience the above symptoms and others which may point to toothache, it is important that you consider some remedial procedures to help you alleviate the pain. Below are some of the top home remedies for toothache that will save you money and pain.
Clove has been a strategic ingredient in traditional medicine for numbing nerves. They contain a chemical compound known as eugenol which is a natural an anesthetic. However, you should exercise extreme care when using clove oil because directly pouring it on the aching area can potentially worsen the pain. The best mode of applying this remedy is to put two drops of clove oil on a sponge or cotton bowl and gently placing it against the tooth until the pain subsides. You can either chew the whole clove so as to release its oil or use powdered clove on the tooth.
Ginger and cayenne are heat-packing spices which are effective as painkillers. Cayenne contains capsaicin which helps in blocking pain messages being relayed to the brain. When making the paste, measure two equal parts of these ingredients and add enough water. Dip a cotton bowl into the paste until it soaks. Thereafter, place it on the tooth and leave it there until the pain fades. Be careful to avoid contact with your tongue and gum because it can cause inflammation.
Swishing warm salty water can help ease or even kill the pain caused by the toothache. It also cleans the irritating debris and helps in reducing the swelling. The duration of the swishing should be about 30 seconds after which you spit the salty water out. Apart from cleansing the aching area, salty water sucks some of the fluid that causes the swelling and hence brings the condition under control.
Soothing with Tea
Peppermint tea not only has a nice flavor but some numbing power as well. Put a teaspoon of dried peppermint leaves in a cup of boiling water and steep for about twenty minutes. When the tea cools or becomes warm, swish it around then swallow or spit it out. The tannins present in the strong black tea can help in quelling the pain and reduce swelling.
This is an effective killer of harmful oral bacteria and a pain reliever. The hydrogen peroxide solution should contain about 3 percent of hydrogen peroxide. However, unlike the other home remedies, hydrogen peroxide gives you a temporal relief as you plan to see your dentist and get the problem cleared up. Remember hydrogen peroxide solution should only be used for rinsing thereafter spit it out and rinse with plain water.
When to See Your Dentist
There is a possibility that your toothache may persist even after trying out the above remedies. When your toothache lasts longer than two days, visit your dentist because the pain may be caused by a deep seated problem. Toothaches can cause the dental pulp to be infected and this may further lead into dental abscess hence severe and continuous pain.
So as to prevent toothache and other related dental problems, you should endeavor to keep your gums and teeth as healthy as possible. This can be achieved by brushing your teeth regularly at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste and a good toothbrush that gently brushes over your tongue and your gums. Flossing once a day can also help in removing particles stuck in between your teeth. There are several recommended mouthwashes that can help in maintaining your oral health and kill any invasive bacteria. Limiting intake of sugary foods and smoking can also keep you safe from incidences of toothache.
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