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Nearly everyone has experienced discomfort from a toothache at least once.

The pain it causes is annoying and can vary, depending on its cause. Generally, the pain has three distinct features:
  • A throbbing quality, although it can also be intermittent or continuous.
  • It worsens with chewing or drinking hot or cold food and beverages.
  • It gets worse when lying down.
In most cases, toothache is caused by problems of the teeth, gums and dental pulp.
The underlying cause of these problems is plaque formation. Dental plaque forms on the surface of the teeth and gums. It is a thin film consisting of up to 70% of bacteria. Plaque attracts sugars. The sugars gradually change into acids, and the acids are what cause dental caries, or tooth decay. But decay can also lead to inflammation of the gums and the tooth pulp. The extreme consequence of these problems is tooth loss.

The main cause of plaque formation is poor oral hygiene, but toothache can also be caused by other factors:
  • Problems of the temporomandibular joint. The pain starts in the jaw and travels to the teeth.
  • Sinusitis. An inflammation of the nasal sinuses that can make teeth more sensitive.
  • Neuralgia of the trigeminus nerve. This inflammation causes intense facial pain, which sometimes resembles a toothache.
  • Angina. This is a heart condition caused by impaired blood supply to the coronary arteries. It can sometimes manifest with toothache and jaw pain.
  • Tumors. Oral and non-oral tumors can produce pain resembling a toothache or jaw pain.
  • Earache.

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