Everything from bruxism to cavities can cause toothaches. But did you know that your sinus infection might be a culprit as well?
In addition to sore throats, ear pain, and post-nasal drip, tooth pain is a common symptom of sinus infections. So, if you have a toothache that’s isolated to your upper teeth, there’s a chance it’s the result of a sinus infection.
Knowing how to prevent or alleviate sinus-related toothaches starts with understanding the link between them.
What Are Sinus Infections?
Your sinus cavities are located behind your cheekbones, eyes, and forehead. These air-filled spaces are responsible for producing mucus that drains into your nasal cavity, moistening and warming incoming air, and preventing dust or debris from entering your lungs.
Most of the time, you won’t even notice your sinuses. However, when you have a sinus infection (or sinusitis), the tissue lining your sinus cavities becomes blocked by fluid, which can cause congestion and painful pressure. Common causes of sinusitis include allergies, respiratory infections, the common cold, fungal infections, structural abnormalities, and exposure to pollutants, chemical irritants, or changes in air pressure or temperature.
Since our sinuses share a space with the roots of our upper teeth, swollen sinuses put painful pressure on nerves connected to your teeth, causing toothaches.
How Do Sinus Infections Differ From Regular Toothaches?
Toothaches resulting from dental problems like decay usually only involve one tooth, whereas you may feel pain across your entire face and in several teeth (most likely your top molars) when you have a sinus toothache. If the pain worsens when bending over or jumping up and lessens when lying down or sitting, you may have a sinus infection.
If you have a toothache and have a fever, lost the ability to smell or taste, a sore throat, feelings of fatigue, bad breath, thick or discolored mucus, ear pain, congestion, post-nasal drip, a hoarse voice, or pressure or pain in your nose, cheekbones, forehead, or the area around your eyes, you also might have a sinus infection.
What Are Some Home Remedies For Sinus Toothaches?
Luckily, there are several home remedies for sinus toothaches, such as:
- Rinsing With Saltwater: Rinsing your mouth with a saltwater solution can reduce inflammation. For best results, rinse your mouth several times a day for 30 seconds.
- Applying heating pads and cold compresses: By alternating between placing heating pads and cold compresses on the affected area for 15 minutes at a time, you can relieve sinus toothache pain.
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers: Taking ibuprofen, aspirin, or acetaminophen or applying topical numbing gels that contain benzocaine can help reduce toothache pain.
To get rid of your sinus infection and stop your sinus toothache in its tracks, try:
- Drinking lots of water: Increasing your fluid intake will help reduce blockages, reduce pressure, and thin your mucus.
- Getting plenty of rest: Getting a sufficient amount of sleep is one of the best things you can do to help your body combat a sinus infection. Keep your head in an elevated position as you sleep to avoid trapping any mucus in your sinuses, and use a humidifier to help reduce nasal congestion.
- Breathing in steam: Inhaling steam from showers, tea, or home-cooked meals will open your nasal passages, allowing your mucus to drain and relieving sinus pressure.
- Rinsing your sinuses: Rinsing your sinuses with a saline solution will help clear your sinuses of discharge and moisture. Use distilled water and a neti pot or nebulizer to flush your sinuses and clear away allergens and mucus.
- Adjusting your diet: Since sinus-induced toothaches are generally caused by inflammation, you can incorporate foods that reduce inflammation into your diet to remedy your sinus toothache. You should also add vitamin C-rich, Omega-3 fatty acid-rich, and mucus-thinning foods to your diet.
When To See A Professional
Usually, these home remedies can clear up your sinus infection within seven to 10 days. However, if none of these home remedies are working, speak to your doctor. They may recommend taking decongestants, expectorants, corticosteroids, antihistamines, allergy injections, antibiotics, or pain relievers.
You should also speak to your dentist, as they can take X-rays to locate any abscesses or areas of decay that might be causing your toothache and give you more advice on handling sinus toothaches. If you live near San Diego and are suffering from a toothache, visit Espire’s office in La Mesa, California. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!