It’s flu season! Toothaches and sinus infections

June 1, 2017

When you’re feeling under the weather, the last thing you want is a toothache adding to your discomfort.
If you notice your teeth hurting when you have a cold, this could be an early sign of a sinus infection. You
should visit your dentist or your doctor as soon as possible to get it checked out.

Why does a sinus infection cause toothache?

Toothache is a common symptom of sinus infections (also called sinusitis), specifically in the upper back
teeth (molars). The good news is, it doesn’t usually mean there’s anything wrong with your teeth, although
you should still visit your dentist to be sure.
When your sinuses become infected by a virus, bacteria or other causes, your sinus cavity fills up with
mucus rather than air. This puts pressure on the nerve endings in the cavity, which are shared with your
upper molars. That’s why it’s common for people with sinus infections to feel tooth pain, as well as pain in
other surrounding areas.

What are the symptoms of a sinus infection?

If you think your toothache might be related to a sinus infection, you should first know how to distinguish
sinusitis from a common cold.
These infections last longer than colds, which usually last just a few days. If you’re sniffing and coughing
for more than 7 to 10 days, there’s a good chance you’ve picked up a sinus infection. Fortunately, there
are more ways to tell the difference than just waiting around.

You might have sinusitis if you have several of the following symptoms:

  • you feel pain in your upper molars
  • you feel pressure behind your eyes or cheeks
  • you have a persistent headache
  • you have a persistent cough
  • your nose is stuffy or drips with thick mucus
  • you have a fever
  • you feel tired
  • you have bad breath.

If you think you might have a sinus infection, you should make an appointment with your doctor.
If you’re not sure, you should still visit your doctor or your dentist so they can determine the most likely
cause of your toothache. Other possible reasons for tooth pain include cavities from tooth decay, gum
disease, abscesses, tooth grinding and impacted wisdom teeth.

Tips to relieve a toothache

While you’re waiting for your doctor or dental appointment, you can try these four home remedies to
relieve toothache symptoms by targeting your sinus infection.

1. Use a decongestant

Over-the-counter decongestants or expectorants can be used several times a day to clear your nasal
passages and reduce pressure in your sinuses. You should always follow the instructions on the
packaging or given by your doctor.

2. Inhale steam

Breathing in warm steam in the shower or from hot drinks can help to reduce congestion. Drinking
peppermint tea could clear your nasal passages even faster, or you may prefer to use peppermint or
eucalyptus essential oils in a humidifier.

3. Eat spicy foods

If you love spicy food, you’re in luck. Eating dishes containing chillis, horseradish and other spicy
ingredients may cause your mucus to thin, relieving some of the pressure temporarily.

4. Swish salt water

A tried-and-tested home remedy for toothaches in general, dissolve a teaspoon of salt in hot water, let it
cool slightly and swish it around inside your mouth for 30 seconds. You should feel some relief for a time.

Talk to a Melbourne dentist

Whatever dental issue you’re dealing with, our dentists in Brunswick and Kew will give you a full
examination and recommend the most suitable treatments to help you maintain your oral health.
Call All Day EveryDay Dental on (03) 9853 1811 or make a booking online.

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