Some toothaches are acute and can cause sudden pain while others can be more gradual, with the pain increasing over time. Some eventually subside on their own, depending on their cause, but can still be very bothersome. A toothache could also be a sign of tooth decay or another dental condition and should be checked out immediately by a dentist. So what exactly causes a toothache and what should you do to prevent them?
The tooth enamel on the outside of your teeth can erode when certain acids in your mouth break it down. When the enamel breaks down, the tooth nerve endings can become exposed, thus causing a tooth ache. Sometimes, if the pain lessens or diminishes, it may be because the nerve ending has died. Even if this is the case, the decay will still be present and must be treated immediately by a dentist. If the pain worsens, it could be because of an infection.
There are a few ways to help prevent a toothache from occurring. One of the most important things you can do to prevent a toothache is with good oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing your teeth regularly. This can prevent tooth decay and kill the bad bacteria in your mouth. Toothpastes and rinses containing fluoride are also a good option. Make sure to discuss what option is best for you with your dentist.
Flossing your teeth every night is a must. A tooth brush can only reach certain exposed areas of your teeth, leaving food and plaque stuck in hard to reach places. The food and plaque will eventually cause tooth decay and cavities if left within your teeth. So make sure to floss at least once a day, preferably before bed, in order to remove the food and plaque that isn’t always visible.
There are certain reasons for tooth decay that can’t always be avoided, such as hereditary factors and lack of saliva. If you don’t produce enough saliva on your own, chewing sugar-free gum can help stimulate the production of saliva. Saliva helps neutralize the acids inside your mouth during the breakdown of foods.
To temporarily relieve a toothache, there are some over the counter gels and creams you can apply to your teeth that will help reduce the pain. Certain topical analgesics can also reduce the pain temporarily. Ibuprofen may also help. Make sure to ask your doctor or dentist what you should take before using any medication, drugs, gels, or creams.