Things that make toothaches worse

Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

Though many people know toothaches as the pain related to dental decay, toothaches can also arise from sinus problems, infections, a tooth fracture or excessive chewing. If your toothache persists for several days, visit a dentist to determine the cause of the problem.

Common home treatment includes taking over-the-counter pain killers and brushing with anti-sensitivity toothpaste.

Sinus Problems

The maxillary sinus is connected to the roots of your upper tooth. Sinus infections can be caused by tooth infections and vice versa. If you have a sinus infection, it often leads to increased toothaches. Sinus pain can also be caused from seasonal allergies. Typically, these problems are worsened in a cold, dry environment. Warm steam from hot beverages or the shower can help ease sinus-related tooth pain.

Physical Irritation

Some people touch their aching tooth in an attempt to feel a changes in their tooth that they can blame for their toothache. Poking or prodding your tooth often increases pain or irritation whether it is done with your finger or a dental tool. At the dentist's office, a dentist may poke an area of a potential cavity to asses if you feel pain. At times, this pain persists beyond the appointment.

Cold and Hot

Very cold or hot foods and drinks lead to worsened toothaches for some people. Common sources of this irritation include ice cream, soda, coffee and soup. If your toothache is caused by a cavity, your tooth lacks enamel to cover the dentine of the tooth. Because hot or cold hits the sensitive dentine directly, it causes pain or irritation. Other people may suffer from frequent sensitivity to hot and cold because of dental fillings, caps or crowns. These materials conduct heat differently than teeth, leading to further irritation.


Sugar increases toothaches in a similar method to hot and cold teeth. If you lack enamel, sugar hits your dentine, causing irritation. Sugar also leads to a greater risk of cavities because it encourages the growth of bacteria. If you notice toothaches after sugar consumption, switch to an anti-sensitivity toothpaste and decrease your consumption of sweets.

Grinding and Chewing

People who grind their teeth or clench their jaw slowly wear away their tooth enamel. The less enamel, the worse your toothache. Both grinding and chewing force your teeth to come into contact with an object, increasing potential for irritation. If you chew too frequently, your jaw may become sore. People who wear orthodontic retainers to keep their teeth in place may notice that their retainer feels tighter after excessive chewing.