Can a Cold Cause Tooth Pain?

Women with Cold and Sneezing

A cold, in and of itself, typically does not cause tooth pain. However, there are a few ways in which a cold or an upper respiratory infection can indirectly lead to tooth pain or exacerbate pre-existing dental issues:

  • Sinus Congestion: A cold can cause nasal congestion and sinus pressure. The maxillary sinuses, located in the cheek area, are situated close to the upper back teeth. When these sinuses become congested or infected, it can create pressure that may be perceived as toothache or discomfort in the upper teeth.
  • Tooth Sensitivity: Some people may experience increased tooth sensitivity during a cold or respiratory infection, possibly due to changes in air pressure in the sinuses or dehydration. This sensitivity can be uncomfortable, especially if you consume hot or cold foods and beverages.
  • Teeth Grinding (Bruxism): When people are unwell or experiencing discomfort from a cold, they may unconsciously clench or grind their teeth, a condition known as bruxism. This can lead to tooth pain or exacerbate existing dental issues.
  • Reflux and Acid Erosion: Coughing and postnasal drip associated with a cold can sometimes lead to gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). Stomach acid that enters the mouth due to GERD can erode tooth enamel and cause tooth sensitivity or pain.

While a cold can contribute indirectly to tooth discomfort, it’s essential to differentiate between tooth pain and sinus or other cold-related symptoms. If you experience severe or persistent tooth pain during a cold, it’s advisable to consult a dentist. Dental professionals can evaluate your dental health, identify any underlying issues, and provide appropriate treatment or recommendations to alleviate the discomfort.

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