It's one of those things you only think about when it happens and really just kind of take for granted. So, why do toothaches hurt more at night? There are actually a number of reasons why this can occur. We'll review some of those and then later we can discuss what you can do to help alleviate your tooth pain. Are you ready? Let's get started!
Toothaches at night
If you are worried 'why does my tooth hurt at night?', then we've worked out the riddle for you. Well, some of it. While there may be some other causes, the most likely reasons that your teeth hurt at night are as follows:
- Eating late - If you are sensitive to certain foods(especially sugary ones) then having a late snack or meal right before bed is not a good idea. The acids and sugars will begin acting on your teeth and you won't be a happy camper. That said, if you must have that midnight snack, brushing thoroughly and rinsing with mouthwash can help to lessen the chances of this occurring.
- How you sleep - Are you putting pressure on your jaw? Extra pressure can cause some issues with tooth pain at night due to inflamed gums or pressure on the jaw in general. Try sleeping with your head flat on the pillow, rather than with the pillow pressed to the side of your face.
- Sinus infection - If your tooth pain is accompanied by a stuffed up or draining nose, fever, and possibly a headache situated in your face, this could be a sign of a sinus infection.
- Grinding your teeth - Many people grind their teeth at night and don't even realize it. If you suspect that this may be the case, the deentist can make you a mouth guard for sleeping so that you don't chew at night and cause yourself any undue stress.
- Blood flow -When you go to sleep at night your head is generally not elevated highly enough on your pillow. This results in an increased blood flow to your head. This can increase pressure in your gums and if you already have a cavity.... well, the result may be a toothache that only seems to come at night.
Relief when your toothache hurts more at night
Overall, the best relief is going to come from your dentist. You've probably got a cavity and maybe your gums are inflamed. The dentist is the best prepared for a case like this. That said, we certainly aren't saying that there is nothing that you can do. For instance, there are over-the-counter remedies that you can employ, such as:
- Ibuprofen - Great for reducing swelling and dealing with pain, ibuprofen is a good medicine to have in your cabinet if you aren't allergic. Be sure to stick to the recommended dosages, however.
- Pain gel - Oral pain gel is common and effective. Grab some at your local pharmacy and use in a pinch as needed!
- Cold Compress -While you don't want to go to sleep with it on, a cold compress applied for even 10 minutes can have a soothing effect to help you later when you wish to sleep.
- Aspirin - Arguably the most popular over-the-counter medicine in the world, Aspirin can help with minor aches and pains. It does act as a blood thinner, however, so don't use this if you've just gotten dental surgery as it could cause you to bleed more.
Home remedies for when your teeth hurt at night
If over-the-counter medicine or an icepack are simply not your style, there are a host of other options at your disposal for dealing with an aching tooth. Many of the items that you need are already sitting in your pantry and you might not even know that they had extra uses. Items such as:
- Oils - Peppermint oil and Clove oil are great for pain(and tasty, too!). Put a few drops on a cotton swab and apply gently to the gums around the affected area. This can give you that little extra comfort to get to sleep properly.
- Tea bags - Don't fall asleep with a teabag in your mouth but it you steep one, let it cool a bit until it's simply warm, and then chomp down on it then you can enjoy the effects. Bite down on it for a few minutes and the tannins in the tea can help with the pain and for disinfecting the area. Chamomile is especially good for this.
“Mix equal parts ginger and powered cayenne pepper with a little water.”
- Vanilla extract - A little vanilla extract on a cotton ball or even a small ball of bread can help to soothe your aching tooth and gums. Simply bite down on the cotton or bread in the affected area after applying 3-4 drops of vanilla extract and find yourself some delicious relief.
- Salt water rinse - It's an old classic but effective nonetheless. A half a teaspoon of salt in a small glass of water makes a good rinse for cleaning your teeth and dulling the pain by clearing out harmful bacteria.
- Ginger and cayenne pepper paste- Mix equal parts ginger and powered cayenne pepper with a little water to make yourself a paste. Using a cotton swab, saturate the cotton in the mix and apply directly to the cavity for as long as you can stand it. It is going to sting, but the capsaicin from the peppers will affect your pain sensors and give you a nice period of pain-free resting to follow. Note, this can also be done with Tabasco sauce!
Now that you know what causes tooth aches at night you will be better prepared to avoid them. Use these tips as needed and make sure to get your beauty rest so that you can arrive bright-eyed and bushy tailed to work in the morning. Be sure to give the Sandman our regards!