Can Dental Problems Contribute To Headaches And Migraines?

Integrative Dental Wellness in Eldersburg, MD
added on: August 22, 2023

People who get a lot of headaches or have chronic migraines may be surprised to learn that a dental problem may be to blame. In fact, these two seemingly unrelated ailments can have a significant impact on each other, and recent research suggests that there may be a strong connection between them. While headaches and migraines are typically treated as medical concerns, there may be a reason to consult your dentist in Eldersburg to get relief. 

The Link Between Dental Problems and Headaches

While it might not be immediately evident, your dental health and headaches could be interconnected in several ways. Let’s explore some of the key factors that establish this intriguing link.

  1. Malocclusion and Dental Alignment

Malocclusion refers to a misalignment of the teeth, which can occur due to various reasons like genetics or improper oral habits. When your teeth are not correctly aligned, it can lead to an uneven distribution of biting forces. As a consequence, this places additional stress on certain teeth and the surrounding jaw muscles, potentially resulting in tension headaches or even migraines.

If a patient has malocclusion or misaligned teeth, a dentist can recommend orthodontic treatments like braces or clear aligners to correct the alignment. By achieving proper dental alignment, the uneven biting forces that contribute to headaches can be alleviated.

  1. Teeth Grinding and Clenching 

Teeth grinding, medically known as bruxism, is a common dental problem that often occurs during sleep or period of stress. The constant grinding and clenching of teeth can cause significant strain on the jaw joint and surrounding muscles, leading to headaches. The pressure exerted during bruxism can also radiate pain to the temples and forehead, mimicking the symptoms of tension headaches.

Dentists can address teeth grinding and clenching issues by providing patients with custom-made nightguards or splints. These dental appliances help protect the teeth from excessive wear and reduce the strain on the jaw muscles, potentially preventing headaches caused by bruxism.

  1. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder and Headaches 

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge joint that connects your jaw to your skull. TMJ disorder can arise due to injury, arthritis, or teeth grinding, among other factors. TMJ-related headaches are often felt in the temples, behind the eyes, and even in the neck and shoulders. These headaches can be severe and have a migraine-like quality, making it crucial to address the underlying dental issues.

For patients suffering from temporomandibular joint disorders, dentists can offer various treatment options. This may include recommending lifestyle changes, physical therapy exercises, stress management techniques, or in some cases, dental appliances like splints to alleviate TMJ-related headaches.

  1. Dental Infections and Headaches 

Untreated dental infections, such as abscesses or gum disease, can lead to the spread of bacteria and inflammation in the oral cavity. The proximity of the oral region to the head means that these infections can easily affect the surrounding nerves and tissues, potentially triggering headaches or migraines.

For headaches caused by dental infections or gum disease, your dentist in Eldersburg can perform necessary procedures, such as root canals or periodontal treatments, to eliminate the infection and reduce inflammation. By addressing these issues, the spread of bacteria and inflammation that may trigger headaches can be controlled.

  1. Impact of Oral Health on Overall Well-being

Beyond the direct links between dental problems and headaches, your oral health significantly influences your overall well-being. Poor oral hygiene can lead to various systemic health issues, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. These underlying health conditions can also contribute to headaches, making it essential to prioritize dental health as part of a comprehensive approach to headache management.

If your headaches or migraines are affecting your life, consider talking to your dentist in Eldersburg. After all, dentists can make a significant impact in addressing dental problems that may be associated with headaches and migraines. Dental treatment may be just what you need in order to help reduce the number or severity of headaches and migraines.