Can toothaches cause migraines?
One of the major causes of migraine headaches is an extended toothache. Almost all headaches and toothaches can be linked to one of the largest nerves in the head called the trigeminal nerve. Because of this connection, most toothaches can directly cause headaches. Migraines can take time away from family, friends and work, not to mention the inconvenience and personal discomfort.
Oral Issues that can cause migraines
A toothache can have many causes:
- Tooth decay – Tooth decay is damage to a tooth’s surface, or enamel. It happens when bacteria in your mouth make acids that attack the enamel. Tooth decay can lead to cavities (dental caries), which are holes in your teeth. If tooth decay is not treated, it can cause pain, infection, and even tooth loss.
- A damaged filling – If one area of your tooth is consistently uncomfortable or the source of pain, you may have a damaged or lost filling. Eating can place pressure on the filling, which may aggravate the tissue below. If food particles or liquids creep under a loose filling, that can also cause discomfort.
- Teeth grinding – Although teeth grinding can be caused by stress and anxiety, it often occurs during sleep and is more likely caused by an abnormal bite or missing or crooked teeth. It can also be caused by a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea. There may be underlying factors that need to be evaluated, so it is always recommended to consult with a board-certified health professional.
- Impacted Wisdom Teeth – Impacted wisdom teeth can be very painful and may be prone to abscess and infection. The impaction can lead to decay and resorption of healthy teeth. On occasion, if wisdom teeth are not monitored properly, their growth can shift parallel to the jaw line.
- Abscessed tooth – An abscessed tooth is a painful infection at the root of a tooth or between the gum and the tooth. Its most commonly caused by severe tooth decay and can cause a throbbing headache as well. A root canal is usually necessary to fix this issue.
- Tooth fracture – A fractured tooth, often called a cracked tooth or cracked tooth syndrome (CTS), is when a crack appears in your tooth.
- Infected gums – A person with gum disease will typically have one or more of the following signs and symptoms: Bright red, swollen gums that bleed very easily, even during brushing or flossing. A bad taste or persistent mouth odor. White spots or plaques on the gums.
- Malocclusion – Malocclusion is defined by the Dental Practice Board as meaning as an abnormal occlusion in which teeth are not in a normal position in relation to adjacent teeth in the same jaw and/or the opposing teeth when the jaws are closed.