With the change in weather, folks are starting to come down with a cold or the flu. And beyond the usual symptoms: body aches, fever, chills, and headache, feeling under the weather can make your teeth ache. But why is that? Your Dakota Dental experts break it down for you!
Why Do My Teeth Hurt When I Have a Cold?
It’s not uncommon for people to experience discomfort in their mouths when they’re feeling ill.
Sinus-related illnesses can create congestion or inflammation of sinus tissues. Because some of the nerves for your upper teeth are close to your sinus cavities, inflamed sinus tissues cause pressure against those nerves, leading to increased sensitivity or a general feeling of oral achiness and discomfort. Furthermore, some illnesses can cause irritation and heightened sensitivity to gum tissues.
Other times, your brain can translate tooth pain from the source in your upper teeth to your bottom teeth instead. It’s not uncommon for the pain to feel as though it is moving around your mouth – sometimes present in your upper teeth and later in your lower teeth.
Nasal congestion can also contribute to dry mouth, especially if you’re relying on your mouth to breathe. A dry mouth can increase sensitivity in the teeth and gums.
Both correlations could explain COVID teeth pain. However, according to the National Library of Medicine, toothaches are not among top COVID-19 symptoms.
The Good News: Standard over-the-counter pain medication can remedy painful tooth symptoms. Most cold and flu medicines include acetaminophen to relieve mouth and tooth pain related to being ill. If you need more relief, use a warm compress and steam to help ease discomfort. And drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated.
Popular Cold & Flu Remedies to Limit
Now that flu season is in full swing, we are all desperate to stay healthy in any way possible, including cough drops. But beware — many cough drops contain added sugar. The sugar in these lozenges is just as bad for your teeth as hard candy! While these can help to ease a sore throat and cover up the taste of medicine, they also wreak havoc on your oral health.
Why is sugar so harmful? Well, it sticks to the plaque on teeth. Bacteria in the plaque turns the sugar into acid, which eats away tooth enamel, leading to cavities and other dental issues.
But cough drops aren’t the only culprit. Here are a few other seemingly harmless cold remedies that can damage your teeth:
- Sports Drinks: While its electrolytes can be beneficial, the added sugar isn’t good for your teeth. Your teeth would be much better off if you chose water.
- Fruit Juices: Juices may have lots of vitamins but also a bit of sugar. Make sure the juice you buy has no added sugar. Or add water to your glass to dilute the amount of sugar in each serving.
- Chewing on Ice: Ice doesn’t have sugar, but chewing on it could chip or crack your otherwise healthy teeth. It can also irritate the soft tissue within your teeth, causing painful toothaches, which is no fun.
Is It Time to See a Professional?
If the pain in your mouth becomes throbbing or sharp, if your teeth are susceptible to hot or cold temperatures, or if pressure from biting down or touching your tooth causes an increase in discomfort, schedule an appointment at Dakota Dental. We’ll take a close look to ensure there isn’t a more serious dental issue that needs attention.
We’re Rooting for You to Stay Healthy This Season
When you are home sick with the flu, preventative dental care might be the last thing on your mind. But making that extra effort to care for your teeth is crucial for long-term dental health.
Another way to make sure you’re keeping your teeth healthy this season? Visit your family dentists at Dakota Dental. Our dedicated team can help you with dental services, from cavity fillings and root canal procedures to teeth whitening and veneers.