Toothache and Gum Problems - Topic Overview
Toothaches and gum problems are common but usually can be prevented by taking good care of your teeth and gums. Keeping your teeth , gums, and the bones around your teeth healthy requires regular brushing, flossing, and good nutrition. Brush your teeth twice a day with an American Dental Association (ADA) accepted fluoride toothpaste. Clean between teeth daily with floss or an interdental cleaner. For more information on proper brushing and flossing techniques, see the topic Basic Dental Care.
Sometimes you may have tooth pain when you touch a tooth or when you eat or drink foods that are hot, cold, sweet, or sour (a sensitive tooth). Mild sensitivity can be caused by shrunken (receded) gums or a worn-down tooth. Moderate to severe sensitivity can mean a tooth has cracked, a dental cavity is present, or a filling has been lost. Seeing a dentist for treatment can prevent the tooth from dying.
The most common cause of a toothache is tooth decay , although a toothache may not be present in the early stages of decay. Other reasons for a toothache might include:
- An infection of or around the tooth (abscess ). A red, swollen, painful bump may be found near or on the side of the sore tooth. The tooth may especially hurt when you bite down.
- A tooth that has not broken through the gum (impacted tooth). Gums may be red, swollen, and sore. The area around this tooth can ache, throb, and be quite painful.
- Problems with or injury to the nerves in the center of the tooth (pulp), which can be caused by an injury to the face or from grinding or gnashing the teeth.
Sometimes a toothache can be caused by another health problem, such as:
Healthy gums are pink and firm and do not bleed easily. Occasionally your gums may bleed if you brush your teeth and gums too hard, use a hard-bristled toothbrush, or snap dental floss hard against your gums. Be gentle with your teeth-use a soft-bristled toothbrush and floss carefully to help prevent bleeding gums.