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Is My Headache a Direct Result of My Oral Health?

Oral Health and Headaches

If you suffer from chronic headaches, you’ve probably struggled to find a cause for them. It’s likely you haven’t thought of your oral health being a huge contributing factor.

What are some oral health problems that can cause headaches?

The following are some of the oral health problems that can cause headaches:

  • Cavities and infections:  Cavities are decayed areas of your teeth that have developed into holes, and infections can happen in anywhere in your mouth, including your teeth and gums. Both conditions can cause what’s called referred pain. This type of pain occurs in one part of the body (such as your mouth) and is felt in another part (your head).
  • Teeth grinding (bruxism):  Bruxism is a rhythmic clenching of the jaw and grinding of the teeth that usually occurs at night. Its most common symptom is headaches, and people who grind their teeth are about three times more likely to have headaches.
  • TMJ: TMJ refers to temporomandibular joint disorder, which causes jaw pain. This joint can become damaged and cause jaw pain and headaches.

How can each of these things be treated to make your headaches go away?

These oral health issues can be treated in the following ways, which should also improve your headaches:

  • Cavities: Cavities can be treated by removing the decayed material and filling with dental inlays or onlays which are designed to fill in the gap created by the removal of tooth decay. If it’s more advanced, a crown or root canal may be needed.
  • Infections: An infection can be treated by cleaning it out and repairing the tooth with a root canal and crown.
  • Teeth grinding (bruxism): Teeth grinding can be treated by wearing a mouth guard at night, reducing stress, using certain medications, or treating the underlying dental problem that may be causing the issue.
  • TMJ: TMJ can be treated in many different ways, including mouth guards, medication, physical therapy, or surgery.

What are some tips for good oral health care to avoid headaches in the long run?

The following tips will help protect your oral health and reduce your risk of getting headaches related to oral health issues:

  • Brush twice daily: You should use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean your teeth for two minutes twice a day.
  • Floss: Floss between your teeth once a day.
  • Eat a healthy diet: Eating less refined sugar will help reduce your risk of getting cavities and infections.
  • Drink plenty of water: Water can help wash away food particles and bacteria.
  • Reduce stress in a healthy way: Stress can cause you to grind your teeth or clench your jaws, so find a healthy outlet to reduce your stress level. Walking, reading, spending time with friends, and practicing yoga are some good ideas to try.
  • See your dentist regularly: This can help prevent problems and catch any existing issues early, when they’re most easily treated. Be sure to share any problems you’re having with your oral or overall health.

If you have headaches that may be linked to your oral health or have other dental needs, make an appointment today or simply stop by to see one of the New York Metropolitan Area dentists at Dental365. We’re open seven days a week with extended hours on weekdays and are also available for emergency care. We offer top-level dental care at our offices throughout the NYC area.

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