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‘Why do my teeth hurt?' The most common causes of toothache - and what to do about them

We explain the common causes of toothache.

EXPERIENCING THAT FIRST moment of toothache can often immediately leave you with a sinking feeling, as the distinct pain in your mouth begins to affect your daily life. Eating, drinking, and sleeping, things you took for granted the previous day, may prove to be close to impossible.

Whilst we’ve all experienced the negative effects toothache can have on interfering with our lives and have struggled for relief from the pain, not many are aware of the root causes of toothache.

stressedwomancomplainingsufferingtoothachesittingonacouchat Image: Shutterstock / Antonio Guillem


We want to test your knowledge on the most common causes of toothaches and have enlisted the help of Fergus Dunlea, of Fergus Dunlea Dental Practice in Clontarf, Dublin, to assist us in clearing up some myths about toothache.


Sweet Tooth

"Eating too many sweets causes a toothache" - How much do you agree with this statement on a scale of 1 to 10? 1 being not at all and 10 meaning complete agreement. 




Tooth Decay 

According to the Mayo Clinic, the primary cause of toothaches in most adults is tooth decay, where bacteria in your mouth create plaque that wears down your teeth’s enamel, leading to a cavity. We can become aware of a cavity by the sensation of pain that may arise when eating something sweet, very cold, or very hot. Of course, sensitive teeth are another issue that can lead to pain as a result of consuming hot or cold food and drinks, but the miserable feeling attached to toothache is unmistakable.  

According to Dunlea, “Dental decay directly related to the amount of sugar in your diet is the most common cause of dental ache. Decay gets into the tooth and causes the nerve to die off, and that’s when the problems start.”


It's a tooth thing

'All toothache is caused by issues with the teeth themselves' - How much do you agree with this statement on a scale of 1 to 10? 1 being not at all and 10 meaning complete agreement. 




Other Issues

Whilst the main reason for toothache is  dental decay, toothache can be caused by several issues, including gum disease, and what’s worse, can be often misdiagnosed at home. An accumulation of food between your teeth and tooth trauma such as grinding your teeth can also lead to toothache. Not knowing the exact reason for toothache can often be a frustrating issue to deal with as you search for a solution to the pain whilst trying to keep your day on track. 


Dentist visit

‘I don’t need to see the dentist for toothache’ - How much do you agree with this statement on a scale of 1 to 10? 1 being not at all and 10 meaning complete agreement. 





Dentist Visit

Visiting a dentist in order to obtain relief from toothache is necessary on occasion and not an overreaction on your part. Having a fear of the dentist – handily named Dentophobia -  should not deter you from visiting them for yearly checkups and cleanings that help prevent toothache or on occasions when toothache strikes. You should call your dentist immediately if you have any of the following symptoms alongside a toothache: fever, signs and symptoms of infection, (such as swelling), pain when you bite, red gums, a foul-tasting discharge, and trouble breathing or swallowing. 


“As with everything, the sooner you get help, the better,” says Dunlea.
“When you get decay in your tooth first, you don’t have any pain with that because it’s in the enamel, and then it goes into the dentine (hard bony tissue forming the bulk of a tooth), and only when the decay reaches the dentine that it starts causing problems for the nerve. The sooner you can intercept that, and the shallower the hole becomes as a result, the less impact it’s going to have on the nerve. Different people have different sensitivity, and some people can have a huge hole in their tooth and no pain, other people can have a small hole and have a lot of pain, depending on the individual’s pain threshold.”

Don’t let pain hold you back. Solpa-Extra Soluble Tablets uses a double action formula –paracetamol and caffeine – to help deliver effective relief for mild to moderate pain such as headache, toothache and back pain. Solpa-Extra Soluble Tablets gets to work two times faster than standard paracetamol tablets alone based on absorption data. 

Solpa -Extra 500mg/65mg Soluble Tablets. For the treatment for mild to moderate pain. Always read the leaflet. To verify contact: verify@perrigo.com. For more information about relief for mild to moderate pain, visit solpa.ie.