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Toothache: Everything You Need to Know

Andrew Bellingham

Andrew Bellingham

Pharmacist | 20+ Years | BPharm | Dip Clin Pharm

What is Toothache?

Toothache is a very common type of pain that occurs inside the mouth, often around or in the teeth. This pain can be quite diverse in nature, ranging from sharp and stabbing to dull and throbbing.

Symptoms of Toothache

Toothaches can be characterised by a range of different symptoms, including: 

  • Pain or discomfort in or around a specific tooth or teeth
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
  • Swelling or redness of the gums around the affected tooth
  • Pain or discomfort when biting or chewing
  • Pain that radiates to the jaw, ear, or other parts of the head and neck
  • Foul taste or odour in the mouth
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating due to the pain


It’s important to note that these symptoms can vary in severity and duration depending on the cause of the toothache, and may require different treatments to alleviate the pain.

Causes of Toothache

Toothache can have many different causes, and often multiple causes can contribute to the pain. 

Some of the most common causes include:

  • Dental cavities: A hole or damaged area in the tooth that can also cause sensitivity

  • Gum disease: Infection and inflammation of the gums, which can also cause tenderness

  • Tooth abscess: A bacterial infection that can cause intense pain and swelling

  • Cracked or broken teeth: Damage to the tooth structure that can cause pain and sensitivity, especially when chewing

When Should You See the Dentist?

The NHS suggests that you go to see your dentist if you have toothache for longer than 2 days, and if: 

  • the pain does not subside with painkillers 
  • you have a high temperature
  • you have pain when biting, red gums, or a bad taste in your mouth
  • your cheek or jaw is swollen

Please note that dental issues cannot be treated by your GP, so it is recommended to contact your dentist directly.

How to Prevent Toothache

Here are some simple steps you can take to prevent toothache: 

  • Brush your teeth twice a day using fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss every day to remove food particles and plaque from between your teeth
  • Limit sugary and acidic foods and drinks
  • Drink plenty of water to wash away food and bacteria
  • Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings
  • Quit smoking or using tobacco products

By following these tips, you can maintain good oral hygiene and reduce the likelihood of experiencing painful toothaches in the future.

Get Pain Relief with Healthera

If you’re currently suffering from a bad toothache, you’ll most likely want to take a painkiller to help the pain subside.

Use the Healthera app to purchase painkillers directly from your local pharmacy for home delivery (or collection).

To get started, simply click the button below to open (or download) your Healthera app.

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