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Understanding the Connection Between Sinus Infections and Tooth Pain

April 10th, 2018

Understanding the Connection Between Sinus Infections and Tooth Pain

If you've ever suffered from any type of tooth pain, you know how uncomfortable it can be. There are multiple reasons one can suffer from tooth pain. Some of the more common ailments include cavities, a cracked tooth or tooth sensitivity resulting from cold or hot foods. A lesser known cause of tooth pain is a sinus infection. The addition of sinus infection tooth pain caused by pressure in your nasal cavity can be all the more distressing if you're unaware of this side effect. If you suffer from sinus infection tooth pain, here's some information to be aware of.

 

What are sinus infections?
Sinusitis, more commonly referred to as a sinus infection, occurs when the nasal passage cavities become swollen and inflamed. The sinuses are unable to drain which allows a mucus build-up. It's usually caused by the common cold but can also result from allergies. Once the sinuses are blocked, the moist environment created by an excess of mucus creates a fertile ground for infections. Another symptom that could affect your oral health is bad breath from postnasal drip.

 

How does this cause tooth pain?
In many instances, the cause of tooth pain is evident (take a long gulp of some cold water on that tooth for confirmation). But a sinus infection can be the culprit due to the main mantra of real estate: location, location, location. The roots of the upper molars are in close proximity to the sinus cavities. So, when the sinuses become infected and swollen, the resulting pain is often mistakenly believed to have originated in the teeth. If you think you have a sinus infection, make an appointment to see your doctor. It's important to determine whether a sinus infection is the cause of your toothache, so you can determine the best way to relieve the pain. Reach out to your doctor if you have a cold turned sinus infection or contact your dentist if the pain originated in your teeth. Over-the- counter medications might offer some pain relief, but a physician will best be able to determine your course of treatment.

 

How can I ease the pain?
In addition to seeing your doctor – who might prescribe an antibiotic for pain relief – you can try some home remedies as well:

  • Drink Fluids and Use Steam: Water helps hydrate the mucus membranes and decreases mucus buildup. So, have fluids on hand to stay hydrated. If you've become dehydrated, electrolytes affect the amount of water in your body, and water doesn’t naturally contain electrolytes. You may therefore want to add coconut water to your diet, which contains electrolytes like magnesium, potassium and sodium. Likewise, magnesium supports your immune system, which helps to fight both bacterial and viral sinus infections. Add a steamy shower or a peppermint steam solution to your daily care, as well. Peppermint and steam both help cut decongestion and pain.
  • Eat Spicy Foods: Even if you have a sensitive palate, don't be afraid to stock up on foods that have a kick, such as horseradish or chili peppers. The ingredients in both of these have mucus-thinning properties and can give you an instant sense of relief. But not all spicy foods work equally; check with your doctor first to be sure you're not causing more harm than good.
  • Use an Expectorant: The key to relieving sinus infection tooth pain is to drain the mucus, decreasing the pressure in your sinuses. Over-the-counter decongestants and expectorants can provide fast relief, but in different ways. Expectorants "melt" mucus, whereas decongestants effectively dry out the passages to relieve the pressure. Look for a nasal expectorant but take some time to read the instructions on how to flush the area and how many times per day you should do so.
  • Hum Yourself to Sleep: Sleep is one of the most important means to increasing your body's general resistances. During sleep, your body has an opportunity to produce white blood cells and cytokines, which "enhance immunity. But when you have a painful sinus toothache, it's hard to relax enough to rest. Surprisingly, humming has been linked to a decrease in sinus pain. Air flow in the area acts similarly to water in helping to clear and drain mucus buildup. If you've taken an expectorant but still find yourself up at night, try humming at different tones. Humming naturally vibrates your facial "mask," and you can softly hum the tone that best engages the inflamed area. Infants are calmed and lulled to sleep by similar rocking, and this can also help you relax enough to get much-needed rest.
  • Position Your Head for the Best Drainage: When resting, keep your head in a propped, tilted position. Laying horizontally can cause blockage and continued pressure but sleeping with some of your upper body propped up is a better way to drain the pain which could relieve some of your tooth pain.

 

While sinus infection tooth pain is one specific cause of teeth turmoil, do your best to avoid all types of toothaches. That starts with regular check-ups from your dentist. They will be able to diagnose potential issues, such as cavities or gum disease, which may result in a toothache. Your dentist and dental hygienist can also help you develop a good oral care plan that involves brushing twice a day and flossing daily.

If you have any questions about sinus infections and tooth pain, call Winning Smiles to schedule an appointment with your dentist – 716-332-2444.