Why Do Teeth Hurt When Sick? A Comprehensive Guide

Sarhan Basem
credit: heritagepointedental

When you’re battling a nasty cold or flu, the last thing you want to deal with is unexpected tooth pain or jaw discomfort. You might wonder about the query: Why do teeth hurt when sick? Well, the answer lies in the intricate relationship between your sinuses and your oral health. In this article, we’ll explore the connection and shed light on why teeth might ache when you’re under the weather.

Why Do Teeth Hurt When Sick?

The Sinus and Tooth Pain Nexus

Have you ever experienced tooth or jaw pain while you were sick? It’s common, and the culprit often hides in your sinuses. These air-filled pockets are nestled close to your teeth and play a significant role in causing discomfort when you’re under the weather.

Your sinuses are hollow spaces located in various areas of your skull, including the sides of your eyes, nose, and the lower part of your forehead. Normally, they’re empty, but when you’re sick or congested, they tend to fill up with mucus, resulting in that unpleasant stuffy feeling.

One important sinus line runs near your nose and directly above your upper molars at the back of your mouth. When your sinuses become inflamed, swollen, or infected due to illness, they exert pressure on the nerve endings connected to your teeth. This pressure can lead to the sensation of pain in your teeth and jaw, providing a plausible explanation for your discomfort during sickness.

Differentiating Sinus-Induced Tooth Pain from Infection

Tooth pain can be downright frustrating, and it’s crucial to distinguish between pain caused by sinus issues and that stemming from an infection. Here’s how you can tell them apart:

  • Infected Tooth Pain: If an infection causes your toothache, it will likely be localized to one specific tooth. The pain might feel pulsating, worsen upon touch, and you may notice redness and swelling around the base of the affected tooth. In this case, it’s essential to schedule an appointment with your doctor for a detailed examination and appropriate treatment
  • Sinus-Induced Tooth Pain: On the other hand, when your sinuses are responsible for the pain, it often feels like a dull, lingering pressure. This discomfort can affect several or even all of your back teeth. You might notice that it gradually intensifies or subsides as your illness progresses. The sensation correlates with the swelling or receding of your sinuses, depending on whether your condition is improving or worsening

Managing Tooth Pain While You’re Sick

Dealing with tooth pain when you’re already feeling under the weather can be quite a challenge. However, there are some steps you can take to alleviate your discomfort:

  • Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration can assist your body in clearing congestion caused by illness. Drink a lot of fluids to stay hydrated and aid in relieving sinus pressure
  • Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: You can think about taking over-the-counter pain relievers recommended by your doctor
  • These medications can help ease your symptoms and reduce tooth pain caused by sinus pressure
  • Consult Your Doctor: If your tooth and sinus pain persist beyond a few days, it’s essential to schedule an appointment with your doctor. They can evaluate your condition and determine if you have a sinus infection or if further treatment is needed

Final Words: Why Do Teeth Hurt When Sick?

In conclusion, the connection between tooth pain and being sick often lies in the swelling and pressure exerted by sinuses on the nerve endings near your teeth. It’s essential to differentiate between sinus-induced discomfort and tooth infection pain to receive the appropriate care. By staying hydrated and using over-the-counter pain relievers as directed, you can manage tooth pain and focus on recovering from your illness. If your symptoms persist, don’t hesitate to seek professional medical advice to ensure your overall health and well-being.

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Brussels Morning is a daily online newspaper based in Belgium. BM publishes unique and independent coverage on international and European affairs. With a Europe-wide perspective, BM covers policies and politics of the EU, significant Member State developments, and looks at the international agenda with a European perspective.
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Sarhan Basem is Brussels Morning's Senior Correspondent to the European Parliament. With a Bachelor's degree in English Literature, Sarhan brings a unique blend of linguistic finesse and analytical prowess to his reporting. Specializing in foreign affairs, human rights, civil liberties, and security issues, he delves deep into the intricacies of global politics to provide insightful commentary and in-depth coverage. Beyond the world of journalism, Sarhan is an avid traveler, exploring new cultures and cuisines, and enjoys unwinding with a good book or indulging in outdoor adventures whenever possible.