Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Nagging Toothache

Oct. 25, 2016

Dear Cathy:

What do I need to know about taking care of my teeth? I can’t get to the dentist for 2 or maybe even 3 weeks so what can I do about this toothache? In Pain, Virginia

Dear In Pain:

No one wants to be in pain so you have to get to the root of your pain. Pain can also be caused by eating an "acidic diet" or having a toxic bowel, which comes from eating an acidic diet. Acidic means having the properties of acid.

Most people today do eat an acidic diet, especially if they eat the Standard American Diet, also called SAD, full of processed foods. The goal is to eat an "alkaline diet" and drink alkaline water because disease and sickness can't exist in an alkaline body and you are indeed what you eat.

Tooth decay is often the primary cause of a toothache. Other causes can be an infection, gum disease, grinding teeth, tooth trauma, an abnormal bit and a tooth eruption that happens in babies and school-age children.

And don’t forget that sinus or ear infections, which can be caused by an acidic diet, and tension in the facial muscles can cause discomfort that resembles a toothache, but often these health problems are accompanied by a headache.

Pain around the teeth and the jaws can also be symptoms of heart disease such as angina. If you have a toothache, you may have a cavity or advanced gum disease. Over 95% of people do have periodontal or gum disease and don’t even know it.

The first sign of decay may be the pain you feel when you eat something sweet, very cold or very hot. If the pulp, the inside of the tooth that has tissue and nerves, has become irritated, this can cause pain in your tooth.

If you have any of these conditions contact your dentist immediately -- fever; difficulty breathing or swallowing; swelling around the tooth area and pain when you bit; a foul tasting discharge; and continuous lasting pain.

To temporarily eliminate the pain rinse with warm salt water; floss teeth to dislodge any food particles trapped between teeth; take over the counter Ibuprofen or Tylenol but not too much because they can damage your liver; apply a cold compress to the outside check to relieve pain or swelling.

Your dentist will conduct a complete oral examination to determine the location and cause of the toothache, looking for signs of swelling, redness and obvious tooth damage. He or she may also take x-rays to look for evidence of tooth decay between teeth, a cracked or impacted tooth or a disorder of the underlying bone.

Your dentist also may prescribe pain medication or antibiotics to speed the healing of your toothache. If by the time you see your dentist your tooth has become infected, then treatment could require removal of the tooth or a root canal procedure, which involves removing the damaged nerve tissue from the middle of a tooth.

The key to preventing toothaches is establishing a regular oral hygiene routine and sticking to it. For example, failure to brush and floss regularly after meals can significantly increase your risk of developing cavities, which can cause toothaches. 

Also when you brush use “aluminum free baking soda” and a natural fluoride-free sensitive toothpaste and visit your dentist on a regular basis, especially if you are a smoker, pregnant woman, diabetic, have gum disease, and if you are prone to cavities or a build up of plaque.

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