Whether it's sharp and sudden or dull and constant, tooth pain is hard to ignore. A toothache or tooth pain is caused when the nerve in the root of a tooth or surrounding a tooth is irritated. Dental (tooth) infection, decay, injury, or loss of a tooth are the most common causes of dental pain. Pain may also occur after an extraction (tooth is pulled out). Pain sometimes originates from other areas and radiates to the jaw, thus appearing to be tooth pain. The most common areas include the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint or TMJ), ear pain, sinuses, and even occasional heart problems.
You can prevent the majority of dental problems by flossing, brushing with fluoride toothpaste, and having your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year. Don't put off a trip to the dentist if your teeth hurt. Cavities and cracks get worse over time.
According to WebMD, most people can avoid toothaches and severe dental problems with regular dental care. Have your dentist's telephone number easily available in case of an emergency.
Maintain a healthy diet. Bacteria thrive on refined sugar and starch and need this in order to burrow through the enamel on your teeth. Watch what you eat and be careful about food that sticks to and between your teeth. Brush your teeth after eating.
Establish a good program of cleaning your teeth to remove the food particles. Brush your teeth after eating and brush your gums to encourage healthy gum. Use a soft toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste as recommended by the American Dental Association. Floss between teeth daily. Water jets are effective at removing trapped particles, but flossing your teeth does a more thorough job when done carefully. Rinse daily with an antiseptic mouthwash to help get rid of bacteria that cause plaque and early gum disease.
Prevent tooth decay with fluoride. Fluoride is effective in preventing tooth decay in children. Fluoride is a natural element and is found in many water supplies and vegetables. Check and see if your tap water is fluoridated. If your water is not fluoridated, your dentist can prescribe fluoride tablets or fluoride supplements for children younger than 10 years.
Arrange to have your teeth cleaned by a dentist or dental hygienist at least twice a year. It may help in preventing both decay and gum disease. Dental X-rays may be needed every three to five years to identify problem areas.
Keep your bridge or dentures clean. Your dentist can offer suggestions. Even if you do not have all of your original adult teeth, you can prevent new dental problems if you try these preventive tips.
Wear a protective dental guard or headgear while playing sports to help prevent injury.
Do not smoke. Tobacco smoking may make some dental conditions worse.