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How Poor Oral Health Can Cause Headaches

There is strong evidence that dental issues can be a contributing factor to headaches. Dental problems are most often related to tension headaches, which are caused by muscle strain between the mouth and jaw. Here is a list of common oral issues that can cause migraines in addition to tooth pain.

Teeth Grinding – Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, affects approximately 30 to 40 million people in the United States. Symptoms of grinding or clenching your teeth are morning headaches, sore jaw muscles, and damaged teeth. Your dentist may recommend a custom-made nightguard which will help to protect your teeth as well as provide relief for your jaw muscles.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) – TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder, occurs when the ball and socket joint that connects your upper and lower jaw doesn’t function correctly. This can lead to clicks and pops when you close your jaw, as well as pain in your jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. TMJ is also known to cause severe headaches in certain patients. To provide relief, your dentist may recommend over-the-counter pain medications or anti-inflammatory drugs, a custom-made night guard, or dental treatments to relieve muscle tension.

Wisdom Teeth – Wisdom teeth are the last adult teeth to come into the mouth. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain, damage to other teeth and other dental problems which can trigger long-lasting headaches. For most people, having their wisdom teeth extracted provides relief.

Toothaches – A toothache is a type of pain that starts near your teeth, gum, or jaws. Toothaches can cause migraines by irritating the trigeminal nerve, which controls sensation in the face and mouth functions. While temporary pain relief may be your immediate concern, it is also important to schedule an appointment with your dentist to address the root cause so it does not worsen. Your toothaches may be linked to common dental problems such as misaligned teeth, tooth decay, and gum disease. Regular checkups and cleanings, following through with recommended treatment, and good oral hygiene habits all play an important role in reducing your risk of toothaches.