It is fully possible that toothaches can cause headaches. The reason is that both toothaches and headaches pass through the trigeminal nerve.
Trigeminal nerves are the largest sensory nerves in the brain that detects almost all the headache and toothache at the same time. Located within the head, the trigeminal nerve is mainly responsible for passing on sensations from your face to your brain. The trigeminal nerve also controls the muscles meant for chewing. Because of this connection, a toothache can give you a headache. Other reaction to a toothache like a jaw tightening and muscle clenching can also cause headaches.
How does a toothache cause a headache?
1) A dental abscess (Abscessed tooth)
A dental abscess is the main reason for a headache. A severe cavity within the tooth that causes a tooth infection and spread to the surrounding tissue leads to an abscessed tooth.
The trigeminal nerve is the most important nerve center of the face and head. It has 3 nerve branches – the maxillary, mandibular, and ophthalmic. Each branch connects nerves from the head to different parts of the face. Pain in one nerve branch can activate other nerve branches.
In the mouth, there are quite a few important nerves. Among them, the lingual pain nerve is the most prominent. The lingual nerve helps relay sensation, taste, and pain in the mouth.
When the nerve in and around the cracked tooth or abscessed tooth gets disturbed and stimulated by the pressure of a tooth within its socket, the lingual nerve identifies the pain and discomfort from the nerve endings and send signals to the head, causing throbbing pain from the jaw region to the head. To alleviate a toothache consult a dentist for a full physical dental evaluation and probable extraction.
2) Dental Caries (Cavities)
Cavities are another reason for a headache pain. Cavities are usually caused due to improper oral hygiene like brushing, cleaning, and too much intake of snacks and sugary beverages. Cavities are tiny holes that form in the surface area and the roots of the tooth. The hole exposes the nerves to hot and cold foods and liquids and also sugary foods.
When the nerves get stimulated, they respond by sending pain signals to other parts of the face and these parts can feel extreme pain. The pain may come and go in waves as the nerve responds to the stimuli (what you are eating and drinking). To prevent the cavities from causing further damage to the tooth, have the cavities filled by a dental professional.
3) Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ)
TMJ syndrome is a condition that leads to pain in the teeth. The Temporomandibular joints are located on each side of the face and they connect the skull to the lower jaw. The muscles located on the face sides control the movement created by the TM joint. When these muscles are damaged or not properly working, they cause shooting pain in the mouth and jaw. The TM joints affect all your face areas and cause an earache, eye pain, and headaches.
One possible reason for this disorder is due to the high amount of estrogens in the body. Higher estrogens can naturally happen in the body or they can happen because of taking birth control medications or other estrogen pills. The temporomandibular disorder can also happen because of conditions like eating hard foods, grinding teeth, chewing too much quantity of gum and sometimes due to wisdom tooth extraction.
To relieve a toothache and headache symptoms, take over the counter painkillers, wear a mouth guard at night, and alternate both cold and hot compress.
Can a toothache cause a headache and earache?
Due to the nervous system complexity, sometimes pain in one part gets referred to another part. A toothache causing headache and earache can happen if your affected tooth is an upper jaw tooth located on the same side as your ear. In most cases, these unusual signals of the nerve are carried by your facial nerve, but sometimes they are carried by the trigeminal nerve. Hence, you can get both an earache and toothache at the same time.
It is recommended to consult your dentist to examine your tooth pain because you may not get relief from ear pain until your affected tooth is treated. And you still have to get your ear examined thoroughly to ensure there are no issues inside your ear itself.
Have I got an earache or a toothache?
Most people don’t know whether they are experiencing an earache or a toothache. Sometimes, earaches and toothaches can be related. To know the difference between an earache and a toothache, you must know what are the causes and symptoms of each to figure out what you are experiencing.
|Toothache Symptoms||Toothache Causes||Earache symptoms||Earache Causes|
|Feeling pain in and around a tooth||Infections or cavities||Pain in and around your ear||Infection|
|Having paining sensation after having cold and hot beverages||Stuck food||Appetite loss||Blockage|
|Smelly bad breath or halitosis||Gum disease||Sinus issues||Fluid in your eardrum|
|Earache||Dental work||Fever||Flu or cold|
|Fever||Sinus infection||Sleeping difficulties||Injury|
|Swollen glands||Erosion from grinding the teeth||Loss of balance||Jaw or tooth pain|
Can a toothache cause eye pain?
A toothache causing headache and eye pain can happen because the tooth’s nerves and eye nerves are connected together. The tooth pain caused due to the problem with your upper teeth can lead to pain below your eye or in the orbit. So yes, dental problems can cause eye pain.
Health conditions related to toothaches, headaches, and earaches:
|Temporomandibular joint dysfunction||Migraine||Cavity||Tension headache||Sinusitis|
|TM joint is a joint that connects your jaw to the skull. Damage or injury to this joint causes the TMJ syndrome.||A chronic throbbing headache often accompanied by disturbed vision and nausea.||Cavities are holes that develop when your tooth decays.||A mild pain in the head. Stress headache makes you feel like a tight band around your forehead.||Inflammation of the cavities near the nasal passages.|
|Headache||Intense headache usually affecting one side of the head||Toothache||Headache||Toothache|
|Toothache||Seeing light flashes||Difficulty to sleep||Headache|
|Joint locking||Fear of loud noise||Forehead pain|
How to get rid of a headache from a toothache?
You have to visit a dentist in order to get permanent relief from your tooth pain. However, if it is impossible to rush to a dentist immediately, it is recommended for you to know what can you do for a toothache.
How do you get a toothache to go away fast?
Use these effective natural home remedies for a toothache to reduce the pain to some extent.
Clove oil – Take a cotton ball and put 2 drops of clove oil on it. Place the cotton ball against your affected tooth itself until your ache reduces. Or, place a full clove on your tooth and chew it a little bit for releasing its oil. Keep the clove in place until the pain recedes.
Ginger-cayenne paste – Combine equal parts of these 2 spices with sufficient water and make a paste. Take a small cotton ball and roll it into enough paste in order to saturate it. Place the cotton ball on your affected tooth while avoiding your tongue and gums. Leave it until you get pain relief.
Saltwater swishes – Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a cup of hot water. Use it as a mouthwash to remove irritating debris and food particles. Swish the salt water for around 40 seconds and spit it out.
Peppermint tea – Add one teaspoon of dried peppermint leaves into one cup boiling water and steep for about 15 to 20 minutes. Once the tea cools, swish the tea around in your mouth, and then swallow it or spit it out.
Swish with hydrogen peroxide – Use hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash. Swish 3 percent hydrogen peroxide around in the mouth. Spit it out, and then use plain water to rinse several times. If 3 percent is a bit strong, water it down by adding some water.
Wash with tincture of myrrh – Take one teaspoon of powdered myrrh and simmer it in 2 cups water for half-an-hour. Strain and allow it to cool. Then mix 1 teaspoon of the myrrh solution in a ½ cup water and rinse 5 to 6 times a day.
Distract tooth pain with brown paper and vinegar – Soak a little piece of brown paper (from a grocery bag) in vinegar. Then sprinkle one side of the paper with black pepper, and hold this to your cheek. The warm sensation on the cheek can distract you from a toothache.
Brush – Brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and use toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
Cover the crack with soft chewing gum – If your tooth is broken or you have lost a filling, cover the exposed site with softened chewing gum and you can relieve the pain. Avoid using that tooth to chew food items until you get it repaired.
Try the acupressure technique – Place your left-hand thumb on the back of your right hand where the bottom of your index finger and thumb meet. Put pressure on the point for about 3-minutes.
Apple cider vinegar – Take a cotton ball and soak it in apple cider vinegar or normal household vinegar and hold it on your affected tooth to get relief.
Vanilla extract – Soak a small cotton ball in vanilla extract and place it on your tooth pain. Extract of lemon, peppermint, and almond too contain the similar effect.
Oregano oil – Mix oregano oil with olive oil or warm water. Dip a cotton piece in the mixture and put it on your painful tooth.
Tea tree oil – Put 2 drops of tea tree essential oil on the cotton ball and place it on your affected tooth area. Or, mix 5 drops of tea tree oil with warm water and rinse your mouth.
Alcohol – You can use a little bit of vodka, whiskey, scotch, or brandy to get toothache relief. A strong mouthwash that has alcohol will also be useful.
Ginger root – Take a fresh ginger piece and chew it to fix a throbbing toothache.
Garlic – Smash a garlic clove and mix it with some salt and place it inside your cheek to get relief from tooth pain.
Lime – You can also apply a juicy lime piece. Or, bite a lemon slice to get fast relief.
Peppermint leaves – Chew fresh or dried peppermint leaves to get instant relief from tooth pain.
Onion – Place freshly cut onion on your toothache area. Or, extract the onion juice and put it on your affected tooth using a cotton ball.
Spinach leaves, plantain leaves, and guava leaves – Chew up one of these leaves to get quick relief from tooth pain or mash the leaf and apply it on your affected site. You can also prepare a mouthwash by boiling guava leaves in salt water.
Cucumber – Place a fresh cucumber piece on your sore tooth to get fast relief from intolerable tooth pain. Or, mash a cucumber and combine it with salt and apply it on your affected tooth.
Baking soda – Mix baking soda and some water and apply it on your paining tooth. Or mix a glass of lukewarm water and a heap of baking soda and make a mouth rinse. Allow the soda to fully dissolve in the water and later swish the mixture in your mouth.
Black pepper – Combine black pepper with salt and place it in your mouth to get relief.
Potato – Peel a fresh raw potato and cut into pieces. Put these potato pieces on your painful tooth. Or, crush a potato piece and put some salt on it. Place it inside your cheek on your affected tooth. You will feel relief.
Wheatgrass – Take some wheatgrass leaves and just chew it. Or, use juice of wheatgrass as a mouthwash.
Asafoetida – Take a pinch of asafetida and warm it in lemon juice. Use a cotton pad and put the solution on your painful tooth.
Tea bag – Place a used warm tea bag on your sore tooth area. The tannin content of the tea bag helps numb the pain.
The Ice pack or hot compress – Wrap ice cubes in a cloth and place it on your cheek. If you don’t get relief, choose a hot compress.
Take painkillers – Aspirin and Ibuprofen can give effective, quick relief for your toothache.
Numb the affected area – Buy Orajel toothache relief gel over-the-counter to help alleviate your throbbing pain for some hours. Apply the gel to the tooth directly. Don’t swallow as saliva dilutes its effects.
Thoroughly clean your mouth – Sometimes small food pieces that have gotten stuck in your tooth can cause toothaches. Floss around the painful tooth, brush the affected area and rinse your mouth with mouthwash twice a day. Cleaning your mouth properly can help eliminate the tooth pain.