Is there ever a good time for a toothache? Regardless of what time of day, pain is pain. However, it’s not unusual for you to experience worse dental pain when you’re trying to go to bed at night. But why would the intensity of a toothache depend on the time of day? If your tooth discomfort gets worse at bedtime, here are 4 reasons why that might be happening and how to relieve your discomfort.
When you’re lying in your bed, more blood is able to rush to your brain. Your head is at the same level as your heart, lungs, and limbs, creating an even playing field for your blood pressure. The increased blood flow exerts extra pressure on the affected area, causing it to hurt more than normal.
#2. Unconscious Teeth Grinding
Bruxism is a subconscious habit of teeth clenching and grinding that is triggered by issues such as anxiety, stress, TMJ disorder, and sleep apnea. Chronic clenching of your teeth and jaw joints puts more pressure on the site of your toothache, which causes it to hurt more.
#3. Having Fewer Distractions
At night, when you’re snuggled up and relaxing in bed, there are fewer distractions that take attention off your tooth pain. As such, your toothache might feel more intense at bedtime when you have nothing else on your mind. In the hustle and bustle of your daily routine, you have other things to focus on.
#4. Midnight Snacks or Nightcaps
Fancy a treat or drink before bed? The acids of sweets or alcohol can settle between your teeth, behind your back molars, and just beneath the gumline. This can irritate existing cavities or a receding gumline. If you don’t clean all the residual sugars away, they’ll sit there until the morning. Bacteria on your teeth and gums will eat that sugar and produce a cavity-causing acid, leading to discomfort.
How to Relieve Your Tooth Pain at Night
Get a good night’s sleep with some of these home remedies:
- Over-the-counter pain medication – For best results, use an anti-inflammatory NSAID, like ibuprofen.
- Extra pillows – Prop your head up higher or sleep in a recliner.
- Cold compress – Place it against the side of your mouth that hurts.
- Saltwater rinse – Mix 1 teaspoon of salt with 1 cup of warm water and swish it around your mouth as needed. Do not swallow.
If your toothache persists or worsens, make sure you check in with your dentist! Tooth pain means something is amiss, and your dentist can help.
Dr. Stephen Dean values your oral health, quality of life, and comfort. At Dean Dental Care, he provides the utmost attention to detail when it comes to dental emergencies and is with you every step of the way. An experienced team member will first provide first-aid instructions by phone, you’ll get a detailed oral examination and pain relief at the office, and a custom treatment plan. If you’re experiencing a toothache, contact Dr. Dean at his website or by phone at (770) 786-3915.