Toothaches are scientifically known as odontalgia. Have you ever experienced a toothache or tooth pain? If so, then you know how unpleasant it can be. Now imagine having a toothache that lasts for days or weeks on end. That is why we celebrate National Toothache Day every year on February 9th. This day serves as an important reminder to take care of your oral health and to seek treatment if needed. Let’s explore more about why National Toothache Day is so important!
Why are teeth important?
Teeth are some of the most important parts of our bodies, they serve many valuable purposes. Not only do they help us chew, speak and enjoy delicious food, but they also play an integral role in maintaining overall health.
Teeth aid in digestion by breaking down foods into more accessible pieces for the body to utilise and allow us to communicate properly, as our mouths form words for speech. From a cosmetic standpoint, teeth grant us confidence when smiling or talking with others.
Poor oral hygiene can not only lead to dental issues such as cavities, but it can also have negative effects on other areas of our bodies therefore, we must maintain healthy habits such as brushing and flossing regularly. From its practical purpose to the beauty it adds to our faces and lives, having strong teeth is essential for sustaining a healthy lifestyle.
The causes of toothaches
Toothaches can be caused by a variety of things:
- Cracked tooth
- Tooth decay
- Issues with the jawbone
- Painful cavities
- Exposed root surfaces due to gum disease (or periodontitis)
- Loss of dental fillings
- Tooth trauma leading to fractures or breaks in the teeth
- An abscess
It is important to diagnose the source of pain early so that appropriate treatment can begin because left untreated, some of these cases may require more invasive procedures like root canal therapies to provide relief.
What are the symptoms of toothache?
The most common symptom of a toothache is pain. Depending on the severity of the issue, the pain may be dull or sharp, minor or severe. Other symptoms may include sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures as well as swelling around the affected area.
The NHS advises seeing a Dentist if:
- Your toothache lasts more than 2 days
- Your toothache does not go away when you take painkillers
- You have high temperature, pain when you bite, red gums or a bad taste in your mouth alongside toothache
- Your cheek or jaw is swollen alongside toothache
How can you treat a toothache?
The best way to treat a toothache is to visit your dentist as soon as possible, so they can identify the cause and provide appropriate treatment. Depending on what’s causing your discomfort, they may recommend medications like ibuprofen or paracetamol to help reduce pain and inflammation; antibiotics if there’s an infection; fillings; root canal treatment; or even extraction if necessary. In some cases, they may also suggest using over-the-counter topical medications such as clove oil for temporary relief, until you can get into their office for an appointment.
Why is National Toothache Day so important?
National Toothache Day is an annual dentistry event celebrating the importance of dental health and oral hygiene. It is a great reminder of the importance for good oral health habits. The best way to prevent toothaches is through daily dental care and good dental hygiene habits like:
- Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Generally, both the American Dental Association (ADA) and the British Dental Association (BDA) recommend brushing for two minutes twice a day or after every meal that contains sugar
- Flossing daily
- Using mouthwash regularly
- Cutting down on sugary foods and avoiding tobacco products
- Visiting your dentist every six months for checkups and cleanings
- Replacing worn-out dental appliances (like dentures) and toothbrushes
- Wearing mouthguards while playing sports
- Eating healthy foods, high in vitamins A & C (like green leafy vegetables)
- Drinking plenty of water throughout the day
- Rinsing with warm salt water after meals
- Getting regular exercise
- Maintaining stress levels through yoga, meditation, etc…
All of these tips will help with dental health, free you from discomfort and dental diseases, as well as improve your overall health and well-being.
With this knowledge in mind, let’s all take a moment this 9th February to give thanks for our healthy smiles! Share your thoughts and opinions on social media about National Toothache Day by using the hashtag #ToothacheDay.
- Toothache – NHS
- Oral Health Brushing – BDA
- National Toothache Day puts oral health in focus – Dental Laboratory
- Oral hygiene – Gov UK
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