The cold and flu season is upon us, and along with the typical symptoms of a cold or flu, you may experience pain in your teeth. It is important to understand why your teeth hurt when sick and how to manage these symptoms.
A primary cause of tooth pain when you are sick is sinus pressure. The sinuses are air-filled cavities in the skull that connect to the nasal cavity. When your sinuses become inflamed and full, they swell and can put pressure on the nerves directly connected to the upper back teeth at the back of your mouth. This can result in a dull, aching pain that affects several teeth and is most often felt on the sides of your face near your nose and cheeks.
Another reason your teeth hurt when you are sick is a decrease in saliva production, which can lead to a condition called dry mouth. A decrease in saliva can allow bacteria to grow unchecked, which can lead to a number of oral conditions, including gum disease and tooth decay. It is important to always rinse your mouth with warm water to help stimulate saliva flow, and use a fluoride toothpaste to minimize the risk of developing these complications.
If you have been prescribed antibiotics for an illness that is causing your dental pain, it is important to finish the course of medication as directed by your dentist. Failure to complete a course of antibiotics can allow the stubborn infection to return or lead to antibiotic resistance, which can lead to more serious health problems.