A toothache is usually the result of tooth decay in most children and adults. Bacteria that live in your mouth thrive on the sugars and starches in the food that you consume.

These bacteria then form the sticky plaque and the acids produced by the bacteria eat through the enamel of your teeth, creating cavities.  The first sign of a cavity is the toothache you have.

Other causes of toothache

Some other causes may include the food debris left behind in the gaps between your teeth, inflammation of the gums or roots of the teeth, trauma due to injury or grinding of teeth, sudden fracture in the tooth root, due to the formation of new teeth or teething or it could be a sinus infection which causes toothache too.

Some self-care tips

Here are a few self-care tips which can help reduce the pain and give some relief until you can see your dental specialist.

  • Try rinsing your teeth with some warm water to relieve the pain
  • Use dental floss to remove any food particles or plaque, which is caught in-between the teeth.
  • Take some cold water and apply a cold compress on the outside of the cheek where you have the pain
  • Tale an over the counter (OTC) pain reliever to dull the pain until you meet the doctor

Caution in using OTC medications

Certain OTC antiseptic medicines contain benzocaine, which can cause some severe side effects. You should take care to use such ointments, gels and pain relievers containing benzocaine with caution. Benzocaine can reduce the oxygen in the blood and this can be life-threatening.

  • Try to avoid medications with benzocaine and make sure that your get or ointment does not contain benzocaine
  • If at all you cannot avoid using it, then use only the recommended dosage
  • Store products containing benzocaine out of reach of children

Consult your dentist

Try to reach your dental specialist as soon as possible and avoid self-medication. At least call your doctor if you have pain that persists for more than two days, fever, swelling, signs of infection including redness of gums and foul smelling discharge, finally if you have trouble breathing and swallowing.

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