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Your Stress and Your Toothache

Your Stress and Your Toothache

Tooth pain can be caused by a dental problem, such as a cavity or gum disease, or by a non-dental problem, such as a sinus infection. But some types of tooth pain are caused by stress.

If you're stressed to the point of clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth, you can develop tooth pain associated with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The TMJ is the joint that hinges the lower jaw to the skull, enabling you to eat and talk. Clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth put additional stress on the muscles of the jaw, which can cause tooth pain. If your tooth pain is caused by TMJ syndrome, your dentist may recommend a TMJ dental splint to reposition the lower jaw. But in less serious cases, warm compresses applied to the jaw, eating soft foods, and taking measures to reduce stress can help.(1)

Tone Down Your Tooth Pain with the Right Oral Care Products

TMJ syndrome can cause your teeth and gums to be sensitive, but you should not abandon your oral care routine due to a tooth pain. Instead, look for oral care products designed for sensitive teeth and gums. (1)(2)
  • Boost Your Brush: The Oral-B Pro-Health Gentle Clean Toothbrush features a unique crisscross bristle design for better cleaning between and behind teeth. The extra-soft bristles remove plaque while protecting the teeth and gums from irritation, even if you have tooth pain. In addition, indicator bristles remind you to replace your toothbrush when they change from blue to white.
  • Flex Your Floss: Crest Glide Pro-Health Floss for Sensitive Gums is designed for people who say that flossing is painful. Crest Glide Pro-Health Floss for Sensitive Gums slides between tight teeth without fraying, and it is twice as soft as the original Glide floss.
  • Power Your Paste: For a comprehensive oral care routine, add Crest Pro-Health Sensitive Shield Toothpaste, which offers all-in-one protection against painful tooth sensitivity, cavities, plaque, gingivitis, tartar and whitens and freshens breath too.(3)

Getting Help for a Toothache

Some people are nervous about going to the dentist, and they will postpone a dental visit even if they have a toothache. Dental anxiety is not uncommon, and many dentists make an extra effort to make the care of toothache pain less stressful for an anxious patient. The American Dental Association recommends the following suggestions for reducing dental anxiety, whether you're going to the dentist about a toothache or for a routine cleaning. (2)
  • Tune It Out: Bring your MP3 player (with earphones) and any type of music that puts you at ease without distracting the dentist and staff.
  • Time It Right: If possible, schedule a dental visit for a time when you don’t have to rush to or from work or when you feel pressured. That might mean an early appointment before work or the last spot at the end of the day when you are on your way home.
  • Talk About It: Tell your dentist that you're nervous. Dentists are accustomed to dealing with nervous patients, and the dentist and staff can adjust your treatment accordingly. For example, some dentists’ offices use sedatives to relax patients before a procedure. (2)


  1. http://www.medicinenet.com/toothache/article.htm
  2. Crest product information

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Oral-B Pro-Health Gentle Clean Toothbrush
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The Oral-B Pro-Health Gentle Clean Toothbrush has extra soft bristles that bend and flex easily at the gum line for gentle cleaning.