6 Common Causes of a Toothache

‍A toothache, the bane of many people’s existence! Whether it’s a dull, lingering ache or a sharp, sudden pain, a toothache can be incredibly uncomfortable and unpleasant. Thankfully, there are a few common causes that may bring about a toothache, and understanding them can be the first step in finding relief. From cavities to gum disease and tooth grinding, here are 6 common causes of a toothache and what you can do to get relief from your Southaven MS Dentist or dentist found in your local city.


A cavity is an area of tooth decay that can cause pain if you don’t take care of it. Tooth decay begins with a buildup of plaque, a sticky mix of bacteria and food particles that forms on your teeth when you eat or drink. A diet high in sugar, coupled with brushing less than twice a day, can lead to plaque buildup and, eventually, a cavity. Early symptoms of tooth decay include a persistent ache in the tooth, tooth sensitivity to hot and cold, and a change in the color of your tooth. If you ignore these signs, the cavity can worsen and spread to surrounding teeth, even resulting in tooth loss if left untreated. The good news is that cavities are relatively easy to treat with a combination of brushing and flossing, regular check-ups, and/or an oral rinse. And if left untreated, cavities can be easily prevented with a few simple lifestyle changes.


Tooth infections can be caused by a number of factors, including improper oral hygiene, a cracked or loose tooth, or a tooth that has had root canal therapy. These factors can lead to bacterial buildup in the gums surrounding the teeth, which can cause an infection if left untreated. An infection can cause a toothache, be accompanied by a high fever, and involve swelling and redness in the gums. If you think you have a tooth infection, you should make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible, as it can be a sign of a more serious underlying medical condition. While there are a number of ways to prevent a tooth infection, the best way to avoid them is to visit the dentist regularly and practice good oral hygiene.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is a common condition that results in swollen, inflamed gums that may bleed during brushing. Gum disease can cause a toothache that is often worse after eating or drinking. Gum disease is caused by plaque buildup and bacterial infection in the gums, which can lead to chronic inflammation. This inflammation can damage the gums, eventually causing them to recede from the teeth. If the gums are no longer supporting the teeth, they can cause tooth loss. Gum disease can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting the dentist on a regular basis.

Tooth Grinding

Tooth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a condition that causes a person to clench or grind their teeth when they are asleep. Excessive tooth grinding can wear down the teeth and cause them to crack. If one tooth cracks and becomes infected, it can spread to the other teeth and surrounding gums, causing pain throughout the mouth. Grinding can also lead to TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, which is a disorder that causes pain in the jaw. If you think you suffer from grinding or clenching at night, see your dentist, who may prescribe a custom mouth guard.

Tooth Injury

If you experience a toothache after you have hit or injured your teeth, you may have a cracked or broken tooth. While a soft toothache is typically associated with gum disease, a sharp, piercing toothache after an injury is likely due to a cracked tooth. If you have hit or injured your teeth, you should be sure to rinse your mouth with warm water or apply an ice pack to the area to bring the swelling and pain down. You should also see your dentist as soon as possible to determine the extent of the damage and receive treatment.

Tooth Sensitivity

If you are experiencing a toothache and notice that certain foods or drinks are particularly painful, you may have a tooth that is more sensitive than the others. A tooth that is sensitive to hot and cold may have developed a chip or crack in the enamel, which makes the nerves more exposed and sensitive to temperature changes. A tooth that is more sensitive to cold may need a deep cleaning or a gum line cleaning, which removes bacteria and plaque buildup from around the teeth.

How to Get Relief from a Toothache

If you are experiencing a toothache, the first thing you should do is determine the cause of the pain. You can do this by keeping a diary of your daily tooth care activities and noting any pain you experience during or after eating or drinking. If you determine that you have a cavity, gum disease, or some other type of toothache caused by plaque, bacteria, or a lack of oral hygiene, you can relieve the pain by improving your brushing and flossing habits. If you have a cracked or broken tooth, you should apply an ice pack and visit the dentist, who will likely prescribe an antibiotic, pain reliever, and a mouth guard for sleeping. If your teeth are sensitive, you can take measures to protect your teeth and reduce sensitivity.

When to See a Dentist

If you are experiencing a toothache and you have ruled out the common causes discussed above, you should see a dentist to determine the root cause of your pain. Depending on the severity of the pain, you should visit the dentist as soon as possible, even if you are experiencing a mild toothache. Toothaches are often precursors to more serious dental problems, so it’s best to get treatment early. If you have ruled out all of these causes, have determined that your toothache is serious enough to warrant a dentist visit, and have established that you require emergency care, you should visit the dentist immediately.


Toothaches can be incredibly painful and unpleasant, but they also provide us with an opportunity to take care of our teeth and prevent more serious problems. If you experience a toothache, one of these six causes may be to blame, and you can ease the pain by taking a few simple steps. By visiting the dentist as soon as you experience a toothache, you can get the treatment you need to prevent further damage and future problems.