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Tooth Pain and Running

Posted on 11/25/2015 by Dr. Andrew Zeiger
A woman suffering from tooth pain.Running can be hard on your body, and it is common to feel strains, sprains, and other problems with your aching joints and muscles after your runs. However, what about tooth pain? If you are experiencing excruciating tooth pain as a result of your running plan, it is important to understand why this pain sometimes occurs and what you can do to manage it.

What it Might Feel Like
Tooth pain while running can range from a dull ache to a sharp, stabbing sensation. Some runners also experience pain around the ears and jaws, and hot weather conditions could cause the symptoms to worsen. It is thought that when the feet hit the ground, the vibrating impact could affect an underlying dental condition, or if you were to have food lodged between your teeth, you could be experiencing discomfort. This pain could be the sign of anything form a cavity to a crack in your teeth.

Grinding and Sinusitis

Two other major factors in tooth pain and running include grinding and sinusitis. Many people grind their teeth while they exercise, and as we dig deep to push ourselves to continue forward, we clench and rub our teeth together. This can be a major contributing factor to tooth pain, and if you grind your teeth at night while you are asleep, you could cause wear that worsens when running.

Sinusitis is also a known cause of tooth pain during running. This condition results in inflammation of the sinus cavities, and it can sometimes cause the nostrils to plug up. The sinuses are typically filled with air, but when they become filled with germs and fluid, these things can cause an infection. If you experience chronic sinusitis, you can contact your dentist or doctor for treatment options, as saline nose drops and other nasal decongestants can be helpful in controlling your symptoms and possibly reducing your tooth pain while you are running. For acute cases, antibiotics will likely be prescribed.

What You Should Take Away from this Pain

If you are experiencing severe tooth pain when running, take this as a sign that you need to make an appointment with your dentist. He or she can perform a checkup to see if there is a cavity, abscess, or hidden infection that might be causing your pain.

There are a few other techniques that you might want to try when that painful feeling sets in, especially before you are able to see your dentist:

•  Stop running as soon as you experience pain to take a swig of water. Rinse the water around through your oral cavity in order to loosen up any food particles that may have become lodged between your teeth.
•  Take a few moments to massage your jaw and facial muscles with your fingers. This could help to loosen things up.
•  After your run, use a mirror to inspect your mouth. See if you can determine the area or tooth that is causing you pain.
•  Use an over-the counter topical anesthetic to help with pain relief. This will numb the area so that you can feel more comfortable. Tylenol or Advil can also be helpful for pain control.
•  Work on your breathing techniques and try to be aware about your teeth positioning while you run. Are you clenching your jaw, or are your teeth slightly apart? If you feel that you are clenching while you run, consider investing in a mouth guard to protect your teeth.

Do you need more information about how to keep your teeth healthy when running or participating in other athletic activity? Feel free to contact our office to set up an evaluation.

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