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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Dentistry Toothache


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Tooth decay is the primary cause of toothaches for most children and adults. Bacteria that live in mouth thrive on sugars and starches in the food we eat. These bacteria form a sticky plaque that clings to the surface of teeth.


Acids produced by the bacteria in plaque can eat through the hard, white coating on the outside of your teeth, creating a cavity. The first signs of decay may be sensation of pain while eating something sweet, very cold or very hot.

Self-care tips:

  • Rinse the mouth with warm water.
  • Use dental floss to remove any food particles wedged between the teeth.
  • Take an over the counter pain reliever to dull the ache.
  • Apply an over the counter antiseptic containing benzocaine directly to the irritated tooth and gum to temporarily relieve pain. Direct application of oil of cloves also may help.
  • Avoid placing aspirin or another painkiller directly against the gums as it may burn your gum tissue.
  • Pain, swelling when you bite, a foul-tasting discharge and gum redness indicate infection.
  • See the dentist as soon as possible.

Call the dentist if:

  • The pain persists for more than a day or two.
  • If you have fever with the toothache.
  • If you have trouble breathing or swallowing.