For those prone to headaches, the frequency with which they often occur can be maddening. Yet rushing to the medicine cabinet for some type of pain reliever may provide only temporary relief, without addressing the root cause of the problem. Often, the issue may not be related to tension or sinuses, but rather…..one’s teeth.
Yes, tooth problems are known to cause headaches, sometimes chronic ones that can only be alleviated by taking care of what is causing the problem in the first place. But what might this be? Sometimes these problems are relatively simple. For example, headaches can be caused by the act of grinding one’s teeth, or bruxism, whereby one clenches his or her jaw and grinds his or her teeth at night, often while being unaware of doing so. This can cause not only headaches, but jaw pain, neck pain, and dental problems such as flattened teeth. In fact, a dentist can tell you if you are grinding your teeth, merely by looking for certain patterns of wear. And once you find out if this is the case, the solution is relatively simple, in the form of a mouth guard to be worn at night while sleeping. Increasing your calcium and magnesium intake can help as well.
Other tooth problems are not quite that simple, yet can also be the culprit as far as headaches are concerned. The Mayo Clinic notes that headaches are one of the signs of impacted wisdom teeth, with other symptoms including pain, swollen or bleeding gums, and jaw swelling. When an impacted wisdom tooth is the cause of headaches, taking ibuprofen or other forms of pain relief will generally do little good. If you find yourself with any combination of these symptoms, including a headache that won’t go away, be sure to ask your dentist if your wisdom teeth could be causing the problem. And if you do have those pesky wisdom teeth extracted, be sure to follow-up properly, as having a tooth removed from its socket exposes the bone to potential infection. Thus, all post-operative instructions should be strictly adhered to.
Finally, an abscessed tooth can result in an infection, leading to oftentimes severe pain and headaches. The treatment for this malady involves a visit to the dentist for care, generally followed by a course of antibiotics to deal with the underlying infection. Gum infections can cause headaches as well. So, if you’ve found that you’ve done everything you can to deal with chronic headaches, except seeing your dentist, make that your next step. Your head – and your teeth – will thank you!