09 Jul Can Frequent Headaches Signal a Dental Problem?
A number of possible culprits may cause frequent headaches, but some headaches can actually be symptoms of an underlying dental problem. Reducing excess sodium intake, and increasing water consumption, will rule out potential dehydration causes of frequent headaches. Likewise, reducing or eliminating soda, soft drink beverages, excess sugar, and artificial sweeteners will help rule out common headache triggers. If the headaches persist, consulting a dentist can find or rule out a dental problem.
Bruxism, also referred to as teeth grinding, is a common issue that has been known to trigger frequent headaches. Many patients grind their teeth at night and never notice how severe the problem can be. The pressure and friction from the grinding teeth can aggravate the TMJ (temporomandibular joint) contributing to TMJ problems, as well as irritate the inner ears, facial muscles, and also result in headaches. The grinding also wears down teeth, leaving the bite less effective over time and leaving teeth susceptible to other problems if not treated.
Impacted wisdom teeth that remain in the mouth may seem to cause no problems at all, but can increase pressure on nerves and cause frequent headaches. With the teeth impacted (not fully grown in), a portion of the teeth remained hidden within the gums. Although it is unlikely patients who retain their wisdom teeth are actually chewing with them, it is reasonable to assume some pressure is applied during eating and that pressure on nerves and inner structures can be significant.
Malocclusion or misaligned teeth can also trigger frequent headaches. When the upper and lower teeth do not meet properly, pressure is increased at the temporomandibular joint and inappropriate pressure is added to some teeth, but not all, whenever biting or chewing. If the teeth are misaligned, crooked, crowded, or otherwise in an inefficient position within the mouth, this can contribute to a malocclusion and create similar problems. A dentist will usually refer patients to an orthodontist in such cases, with the specialist providing options to repair and improve the bite.
While a number of dental problems can contribute to or cause frequent headaches, the headaches may be completely unrelated. Consulting a dentist will help rule out potential dental issues and better aid a medical doctor or specialist in efforts to alleviate the cause and symptoms. For more information on dental problems and related headaches and health conditions, contact the office of Dr. Mark E. Massaro at 918-779-3399 today.