Toothache is one of the most common reasons for a visit to the dentist. It is described as pain in or around the tooth. Teeth are small calcified, white to yellow structures found inside the oral cavity. Humans use their teeth to break down food into smaller pieces so that it can be broken down inside the digestive tract easily. Normally, an adult has 32 teeth.
The mouth is rich in bacteria as it is an ideal environment for the growth of these bacteria. These bacteria do not usually cause harm to humans. They live on the starches and sugar found in the food consumed. Once food is eaten, these bacteria help the food cling to the surface of the teeth and result to the formation of plaques. Moreover, these bacteria produce acid that eat through the hard outer covering of the teeth (enamel). When people do not brush their teeth regularly, acid stays in the teeth and results to cavities forming in the teeth.
Causes of Toothache
Toothache is usually caused by poor dental hygiene.
- Dental cavity
- Tooth decay
- Abscessed tooth
- Loss of tooth
- Infection of the gums
- Fracture of the tooth
- Damaged filling
- Gum disease
- Repetitive motions of the teeth, such as grinding teeth or chewing gum
Signs and Symptoms of Toothache
The first sign of toothache typically shows after feeling a sensation of pain after consuming sweet foods or warm or cold beverages. Pain in the tooth after exposure to these is normal. However, if the pain lasts for more than 15 seconds and is severe, an underlying problem may be present.
- Pain affecting the tooth or the gums surrounding it – pain is described as constant, sharp or throbbing
- Swelling around the tooth
- Sensitivity to hot and cold foods
- Drainage from the infected tooth that tastes foul
First Aid Management for Toothache
A toothache is usually a call to set an appointment with the dentist. However, a dental appointment may not always be immediate. The following are first aid tips that can help relieve the pain of toothache:
- Rinse the mouth with warm water.
- If there are food particles stuck in between the teeth, use dental floss to remove.
- Take over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications, such as ibuprofen and paracetamol. Aspirin may also be taken but should not be used by children.
- OTC antiseptic containing benzocaine may also be applied to the affected tooth and gum area surrounding. Do not use this on children below the age of two.
Enroll in First Aid Classes to learn about how to ease the pain of toothache and other common ailments.
Prevention of Toothache
The best way to prevent toothache is to have a good dental hygiene. The following are recommended:
- Brush the teeth and gums after every meal. Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride.
- Floss between teeth at least once a day.
- If one does not have a toothbrush, one can end a meal with salads or apples that also act as natural toothbrushes.
- Set a dental appointment at least twice a year.
- Do not smoke.
Toothache is pain in or around the tooth that usually occurs from a tooth decay, dental cavities or infections.