If you suffer from chronic headaches, you may blame it on your dental health. According to studies, there may be a strong link between tooth decay and gum disease, either causing or worsening tension-type headaches.
To determine whether your dental problems could be causing or worsening the pain in your head, understand how these two conditions can affect each other:
1. Infection can spread from the gums to other parts of your head.
2. Dental problems, such as tooth decay and gum disease, can cause headaches in their own right.
How Gum Disease Helps Cause Headaches
Gum disease is caused by plaque buildup around the teeth and along the gums. This plaque contains bacteria that can easily infect your gums and spread to other areas, such as the sinuses located very close to your teeth.
Gum disease can cause inflammation in your face and neck by attacking a nearby nerve, sometimes leading to a headache.
Gum infections can also lead to peri-oral dermatitis, a skin condition known to cause facial swelling and pain. This can trigger a headache due to inflammation in these surrounding areas.
How Tooth Decay Causes Headaches
Tooth decay occurs when the bacteria in plaque break down certain components of your teeth, such as the enamel and the dentin. When this happens, acids are produced that can cause pain in your jaw or neck muscles.
When decay progresses to the point where it damages the pulp inside a tooth, you develop a toothache. If left untreated, inflammation in the gums surrounding the tooth can lead to chronic pain and tension headaches.
How Teeth Grinding Causes Headache
In some cases, headaches can be caused by teeth grinding, otherwise known as bruxism. This is a condition whereby people clench or grind their jaws together in times of stress or when they are asleep.
Over time, these repeated actions can lead to inflammation and pain in the muscles throughout the head and face. If you suffer from chronic headaches, consider keeping a journal to record when they occur.
If you notice that you experience the most pain after stressful events or activities such as eating certain foods or after waking up in the morning, teeth grinding may be the culprit. Many people who suffer from migraines also tend to grind their teeth at night.
How to Reduce Your Headaches from Dental Issues
To reduce or even eliminate your headache problem, you must treat any dental issues as soon as possible. If you are suffering from gum disease, a dentist may prescribe antibiotics to kill the infection before it spreads.
If you are experiencing tooth decay, a dental professional may elect to go straight for a root canal. This removes the pulp from inside the tooth and stops the pain or discomfort this infection may cause.
If you are experiencing pain because of your teeth grinding, your dentist may recommend a bite guard or splint. This reduces the stress on your jaw muscles and prevents headaches from this behavior.
Take care of yourself and book an appointment with the friendly professionals at New Hyde Park Dental. We’ll do our best to help.
Contact us today for more information at (516)-219-8192. We look forward to hearing from you!