According to statistics, at least 1 in 3 people experience chronic or regular headaches. Headaches can be related to dehydration, infection, light sensitivity, general eye strain, and migraines. Chronic headaches can also be caused by extreme health conditions or events, like a concussion or cranial pressure. In some cases, problems with regular headaches can also be related to teeth. Here’s what to know about the links between headaches and various dental conditions.
Can Headaches Be Related to Teeth?
1. General Inflammation
General inflammation (such as arthritis in the jaw) or infection (such as a tooth abscess) can be common triggers of a headache. Infection and inflammation affect the body in several negative ways. This includes the overproduction of bacteria as well as the weakening of the immune system.
All these factors can give the body a considerable knock, which can trigger a migraine, headache, or body pain.
If inflammation is the cause of headaches, you are likely to show other symptoms of inflammation or an inflammatory condition. See a doctor as well as a local dental expert to know if this is the case.
2. Bruxism, or Night Grinding
Grinding the jaw at night is very common. However, it shows very few symptoms except for muscle and jaw pain, as well as headaches triggered by the constant attack of the muscles through agitation and biting down.
If you often wake up with headaches, grinding (bruxism) is one of the first things a dentist will look for.
Usually, teeth grinding can be brought under control with the use of medication or additional anti-grinding mouthpieces. Both medication and an anti-grinding mouthpiece help reduce potential damage to the jaw and teeth.
Grinding can also worsen conditions like arthritis, and trigger further pain due to inflammation.
3. Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth are something that we are all technically born with. However, these “replacement” teeth only make their appearance later in life. Some people only see their wisdom teeth try to emerge in their twenties or even in their thirties.
Wisdom teeth are uncomfortable for most people, though exceptionally painful for others. Usually, a dentist’s help is needed to remove wisdom teeth – which come out weak, under pressure, and are usually very likely to crack or break. Wisdom teeth can even damage surrounding teeth if they aren’t removed in time.
Of course, wisdom teeth don’t just cause pain to the jaw and mouth. You guessed it, wisdom teeth will also be likely to cause repetitive headaches.
4. Cavities or Cracks
Everyone will develop cavities or cracks at some point in their lives. This is true even if they have taken the best possible care of their teeth. When a cavity or crack forms, it leaves a lot of potential for problems including infection which can cause pain and discomfort in many ways that aren’t exclusive to your teeth.
Cavities and cracks can increase the sensitivity of the jaw muscles and surrounding nerves. In extreme circumstances, a toothache isn’t just felt in the jaw but also in the head.
Headaches can sometimes be triggered directly by bad cavities and cracks and made worse by pressure or potential infection in the jaw.
A toothache can sometimes lead to more than just an extraction or cavity repair. There are times when you could use a root canal, one of the most unnecessarily feared dental procedures.
With an exposed nerve, teeth are a lot more sensitive to temperature changes. Pressure, such as biting down, can be extremely painful or, in some cases, impossible to handle.
Exposed nerves can set off pain in many other parts of the body, including manifesting as headaches.
Scheduling a dental appointment with a local dentist could be just what you need!
Additional Reading: What Can I Do To Make A Toothache Go Away?
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