In the old days the only cure for a toothache involved a piece of string tied to a door handle –luckily those days are gone. You needn’t suffer debilitating pain if you’re experiencing a toothache.

You’ll find plenty of pain relief in your local CarePlus Pharmacy, as well as advice on good oral health practices, and products to keep your pearly whites white.

What is a toothache?

A toothache or tooth pain is caused when the nerve of the tooth is irritated. It is indicated by sharp or dull pain in and around a tooth or jawline.

Symptoms of a toothache or tooth pain

  • A toothache or tooth pain may be throbbing, sharp or constant
  • It can be sensitivity to hot/cold
  • Pain on biting or when pressure is applied
  • Bleeding or discharge from around the tooth. This can be caused by infection
  • Swelling around the tooth or near the jawline
  • Foul taste coming from the affected tooth
  • Throbbing tooth pain that comes and goes

What causes a toothache?

Most toothaches are caused by plaque-related diseases such as tooth decay and periodontal diseases such as;

  • Cracked or damaged teeth
  • Loose or broken fillings – Can leave nerves exposed to the cold and heat
  • Dental abscesses – Collection of pus that can form inside the tooth, in the gum or in the bone that holds the teeth
  • Gum inflammation – Infection in the soft tissue that surrounds the tooth/teeth sometimes causes by injury or trauma
  • Dental cavities – These are caused when the outer layers of the tooth become eroded. This is mainly caused by poor diet and poor dental hygiene
  • Gum disease (gingivitis) – This is inflammation of the gums normally due to a build-up of plaque
  • Teeth grinding or clenching
  • Wisdom teeth – As a wisdom tooth comes out it can cause inflammation around the gum. This can lead to infection and swelling so that the jaw cannot close properly

Prevention of a toothache

Toothaches and tooth pain can be avoided or prevented by following a well-balanced diet and practising good oral hygiene.

Reducing your intake of refined sugars that cause tooth decay. Sugars cause dental caries. These are caused by the action of acids on the enamel surface. The acid is produced when sugars react with the bacteria present in the plaque on the tooth surface.

Brushing twice daily using a fluoride toothpaste and flossing once daily is the best way of tackling tooth decay. Medicated mouthwashes also help prevent toothache and tooth pain by removing harmful bacteria.

Treatments for a toothache and tooth pain

  • Over the counter medications such as Paracetamol and Ibuprofen should be used as the first line of treatment for a toothache and tooth pain. Ask your CarePlus pharmacist for advice on these medications
  • Gargling with salt water helps to flush out infection (children should avoid this)
  • Lidocaine based gels are used to numb the area surrounding the affected tooth until you get to speak to your healthcare professional
  • Avoid hot and cold food and drinks as these can increase sensitivity
  • Children under 16 years should not be given aspirin. If you're unsure, please ask your CarePlus pharmacist
  • Sometimes antibiotics are required to treat an infection

If you have any further concerns regarding a toothache please call into your local CarePlus Pharmacy.