A toothache is not just caused by eating too many sweets. Tooth pain can be debilitating --- making it hard to focus, sleep, talk, and chew. Here are 8 causes of toothache and how to get rid of it.

8 causes of toothache

1. You have infected gums

Gum infections come in two forms. A mild infection known as gingivitis causes your gums to become red and inflamed. This swelling can cause some discomfort and tooth pain. Untreated, gingivitis can develop into a more severe infection called periodontitis. This more serious form of gum infection creates holes or pockets in the gums that serves as a breeding ground for bacteria.

How to treat infected gums:

For gingivitis, frequent brushing and flossing are enough to get rid of the infection. However, for more severe cases like periodontitis, anti-inflammatory medicines to deal with the swelling is often the first line of defence. Depending on the severity, your dentist may also prescribe antibiotics.

2. You have a hole in your tooth

Your teeth are covered by a hard surface called enamel. Decay can eat through enamel creating a hole in your tooth --- a cavity. Small cavities don’t cause any problems. You won’t even notice that it’s there unless you take a closer look. It's when cavities get very large that toothache becomes an issue. Cavities near the nerves can also cause tooth pains. A toothache caused by severe cavities usually causes sharp, piercing pains that get worse at night.

How to treat cavities:

Your dentist can clean the surrounding areas of a cavity and then fill it up. However, when cavities are large and irreparable, the last resort is often a root canal.

3. You have a fractured tooth

A crack or break in your tooth can also cause toothaches. These cracks can be caused by biting on something hard. The fracture can create severe pains when it’s not separated completely and if it moves every time you take a bite.

How to treat a fractured tooth:

In minor cases, your dentist may give you a crown or cap that covers the fractured tooth. However, on severe breaks, you may need an implant to replace the damaged tooth.

4. Food is jammed between your teeth

This is very common, especially if you are fond of eating popcorn! Food particles jammed between your teeth can get pushed deeper into your gums every time you chew. This creates a breeding ground for bacteria which eventually causes pain and swelling. Unchecked and untreated, this abscess may lead to a full-blown gum infection.

How to prevent an abscess:

Simple, just floss every day!

5. Your wisdom teeth are growing through

Expect a dull and debilitating pain if your wisdom tooth comes out in an awkward position or if it doesn’t have enough space to grow. Your risks of developing gum infections are also higher when your wisdom teeth are poking out.

How to deal with your wisdom tooth:

You can deal with the pain by taking some paracetamol or other pain killers. If your wisdom teeth have come out awkwardly, you can consider getting it removed.

6. Your filling fell out

A filling is a great way to deal with cavities in your teeth. However, filling materials don’t last forever and when they break down, they leave a void where food can get stuck --- providing a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

How to fix a broken filling:

If you have a broken filling, contact your dentist and get it patched up as soon as possible.

7. Your gums are backing away

Receding gum is usually caused by the enamel at the gum line wearing away. Without this protective coating, your gums and teeth become exposed to the elements causing pain and over sensitivity to hot or cold foods.

How to deal with receding gums:

You can deal with sensitive teeth using Sensodyne. This toothpaste can help strengthen the enamel in your teeth and gum line with regular use.

8. Your sinuses are flaring up

If you experience toothache while suffering a cold, then that tooth pain is most likely caused by your sinuses flaring up. Remember that your sinuses are located just above your teeth. If they are full, they could exert pressure to your teeth causing pain in various areas. Sinus-related toothaches are usually not limited to just one tooth.

How to fix:

The best way to deal with this kind of toothache is to deal with the underlying condition that’s causing it. In this case, your sinus infection. Once your sinus infection clears up, you should notice the tooth pain going away as well.