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Toothache FAQs

Toothache FAQs

What causes toothache?

There are several causes of toothache:
  • Most commonly, toothache is caused by tooth decay due to poor oral hygiene. If teeth are not brushed properly or regularly, over time plaque build up emits acids in the mouth which will start to eat into the outer layers of the teeth. Tooth decay creates cavities and these make the tooth highly sensitive which causes pain. Also the tooth is at high risk of infection if the cavity is ignored or not cleaned correctly each day.
  • Sometimes dental work such as fillings, can aggravate the pulpy centre of the tooth and cause pain.
  • Fractured or cracked teeth which may be hard to spot, can also cause the painful symptoms.
  • An exposed tooth root can also heighten sensitivity and hurt. Roots are usually exposed when teeth are brushed too vigorously and under too much pressure. However, gum recession can also be caused by piercings in the lips that might rub against the gum line, from not flossing and periodontal disease (inflammation of the gums). Exposed roots are at greater risk of tooth decay than any other part of a tooth.

How do I prevent toothache?

A regular dental routine every day will keep such problems at bay.
Most importantly, brush your teeth every morning and before you go to bed. Make sure you don't brush too hard or aggressively. Instead, spend 2-3 minutes gently brushing all of your teeth, using slow circular movements. An electric toothbrush is generally more effective at removing plaque and food debris then a manual brush. Don't forget to reach those back molars!

Secondly, flossing is so important. Bacteria that settles in-between the teeth can cause the most problems to the roots and inflame gums.
If you would like to establish an improved dental routine please click here for more information about plaque and dental hygiene...

What can I use to ease the pain?

To target pain quickly, painkillers such as Nurofen or Solpadine can offer temporary relief. Dental gels can be put into cavities or on the gums to numb to soothe the ache. Orajel contains benzocaine which is an anaesthetic that numbs pain or there is Dentogen which contains clove oil. Clove oil is a natural anaesthetic and is believed to be just as effective as anaesthetics used by dentists.
Do bear in mind that these products will not cure toothache caused by decay or cracking. Pain caused by physical damage to the teeth must be checked by a dentist.
If you are in pain from a loose filling or cavity and have to wait for a dental appointment, Express Chemist can offer a First Aid Kit or Temporary Filling Material as a temporary measure to help get you by in the meantime.

General tooth sensitivity can sometimes become quite painful and will feel like toothache. If you have sensitive teeth, there are plenty of products on the market catered to desensitise teeth and care for tooth sensitivity. Toothpaste for sensitive teeth include: Arm & Hammer Sensitive, Biotene Dry Mouth Sensitive and The Sensodyne range which includes a mouthwash and Dental Floss. To desensitise the teeth, why not try a brush-on desensitising liquid which can be brushed onto the teeth and exposed roots.
Content written and researched by Beccy

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