Does your Sweet Tooth have your Ear?

by Garreth Myers


Do you experience pain in your teeth and ears after binging on sweets? Sugar in sweets assists bacteria in creating the acids needed to decay teeth and their enamel. Very often, the pain from a toothache radiates to the ear as the jaw and ear are in close proximity to each other, this is known as “referred pain”. In some cases, tooth decay can even cause ear infections. This is because the infection can travel to the sinuses and then to your inner ear.

Toothache can also cause ear pain due to certain problems with the teeth such as bruxism, which is the clenching or grinding of teeth, which can also sometimes result in earache. The symptoms of bruxism cause temporomandibular joint problems, and since the structures of the joint are close to the ear canal, ear pain can start to occur. Apart from toothache, one of the other symptoms of bruxism is also sensitivity in the teeth especially to sugary foods and hot or cold liquids. If you notice that you often suffer from a combination of toothache with ear pain, consult a dentist to diagnose the origin of the pain.  It’s also recommended that you visit an ENT specialist who will conduct tests to determine the main cause of your ear pain and prescribe pain relieving medication and/or antibiotics. However, there are a few things you can do to bring relief to tooth and ear pain with self-care:

  • Avoid eating food that is high in sugar, too hot or too cold.
  • If you're at home and suffering from severe ear pain, for relief try holding a warm compress to your ear. Be careful to check that the compress is not too hot.
  • If a compress is not handy, then simply fold a hand towel or a thin cloth, dip it in hot water and press it against your ear while lying on your side.
  • Add a little salt to a glass of warm water. Allow the salt to dissolve completely and then take a large sip of the water and swish it around in your mouth for a few minutes before spitting it out. Salt is antiseptic and so it will help to reduce the severity of the infection. Swishing the water around in your mouth will help to dislodge any food particles that are stuck in your teeth.

References

  1. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003046.htm

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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