The beginning of winter marks the start of “sick” season, which means there may be a domino effect of illnesses passing between you and your loved ones. Most of the time, sniffles, sneezes, sore throats, and runny noses are the main symptoms to look out for during “sick” season.
However, there may be another common cold side effect plaguing you that you might not expect: tooth pain.
Reasons your teeth hurt during the common cold
Many people don’t think about tooth pain as a symptom of the common cold. But, if you consider your anatomy and where many bothersome symptoms of the illness occur, it makes sense that your teeth may be impacted.
The reason for discomfort starts with your sinuses. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “Your sinuses are four paired cavities (spaces) in your head. Narrow passages connect them. Sinuses make mucus that drains out of the passages in your nose.”
It’s important to note that sinuses are located near the center of your face, including in the forehead, cheeks, and nose. The sinuses in the cheeks and nose are close to the upper part of your jaw.
Most of the time, your sinuses are clear and not inflamed. However, when you have a common cold or other illness, the cavities may fill up with excess mucus and fluid. This buildup can cause a feeling of stuffiness, pressure, and pain in your face, nose, and even your teeth, particularly the upper molars.
So, if you’re experiencing tooth pain in addition to other symptoms, it might be due to a common cold or other illness. However, if the pain lasts for more than 10 days or becomes unbearable, it’s important to talk with a dental professional in case there’s an underlying reason for the discomfort.
Tips to relieve tooth pain caused by the common cold
When you’re not feeling well, the last thing you want to deal with is tooth pain. The good news is there are remedies you can do at home that may help alleviate some of the discomfort that comes with sinus pressure.
Here are some suggestions from the Mayo Clinic:
- Warm compresses, steam, and humidity can help get mucus moving out of your sinuses and can reduce pain. Breathing over a bowl of boiling water can help with this too.
- Using saline to wash out your sinuses not only helps rinse away mucus, it also provides moisture directly to the inflamed area.
- Get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids.
If your tooth pain continues after your common cold is gone, you may have an oral health problem that needs to be treated by a dental professional.
*Updated December 2023