Most people experience toothaches at various points in life due to a variety of causes. During childhood, they may be a sign that new teeth are growing in to replace baby teeth. Later in life, a toothache could be an indicator of dental crowding or the growth of a wisdom tooth.
However, there are other very common reasons that toothaches may occur, some of which may even lead to more serious health issues if left untreated. Some of these potential causes include:
Cavities: Tooth decay, indicated by the presence of cavities in your teeth, is the most common cause of toothaches. 90% of all adults aged 20 or older having experienced at least one cavity during their lifetime. Cavities can occur at any age and generally appear due to poor dental hygiene, particularly a failure to brush and floss or visit a dentist for regular cleanings.
Gum Disease: Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, affects nearly half of all adults aged 30 years or older in the United States. It typically involves infection and inflammation of the gums and bone surrounding the teeth; its early stage, gingivitis, causes the gums to become swollen and potentially bleed. Similarly to cavities, gum disease is best prevented through good dental hygiene habits such as daily brushing and flossing as well as annual dental cleaning appointments.
Teeth Grinding: Bruxism, also referred to as teeth grinding, is a condition that affects up to one third of all adults during the day and one tenth at night during sleep. Bruxism is a habit of clenching or gnashing the teeth together, which can potentially lead to jaw conditions, headaches, and tooth damage. A dentist may recommend splints and mouth guards to keep the teeth separated and prevent damage, particularly if you grind your teeth while sleeping.
If you are experiencing persistent toothaches, don’t assume they will go away on their own; they may be signs of a condition that can become more serious. You can schedule an appointment for an exam or teeth cleaning with a dentist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Department of Dental Medicine by calling (718) 206-6980.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.