A toothache, whether dull or sharp pain, can ruin your day. Worst of all, it can also ruin your night. In fact, a toothache at night is more painful than the one experienced in the morning. So, why do toothaches hurt more at night? It is not like something else causes more pain at night; it is just that in the evening, some bodily functions or postures may result in aggravating the pain.
Why Do Toothaches Hurt More at Night?
When you have spent all your day with a toothache, the last thing you want is a toothache getting worse at night when you need some rest. Although most people who have tooth problems often face this issue, they are unaware of the underlying problem. Hence, to give you some ideas, below are several factors that could be adding to the pain in the wee hours:
Toothaches are usually the result of a sensitive tooth. If you have a cavity issue or a crack, chances are, when you lie down in bed, the pain increases because of the increased pressure of the blood. When you sleep, more blood rushes to your brain because of the horizontal position of your body. As a result, there is more pressure on the tooth that is aching. It can hurt so bad that you might not be able to shut your eyes.
Same is the case if your toothache is caused by a swollen area in the tooth or gum. Over time, this can get more severe and difficult to control. The sad thing is that it can directly result in stress from not getting enough sleep.
If you are experiencing noticeable throbbing pain at night that is light or absent during the day, it could be because of the sinuses. When you lie down, the mucus gets trapped and results in severe pain. However, this is not as common as the pressure problem. Nevertheless, if you have sinus issues, this could very well be the root problem for your nighttime toothaches.
- Nighttime Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
Some people suffer from a condition called bruxism. They involuntarily clench their jaws and press their teeth against each other while sleeping, causing pain at night. Even though many people do not really know about this, bruxism is pretty common. In fact, statistics reveal that eight percent of adults may suffer from bruxism.
Obviously, when you are asleep, you do not know what your teeth are doing. So if you wake up in the middle of the night with a sharp toothache, headache or sore jaw, bruxism might be your problem. Some individuals may have an advanced type of bruxism that their issue also qualifies as a sleep disorder because it causes sleeping pattern problems.
- Late Night Snacks
If you already have sensitive teeth, late night snacks can do more harm. Acidic and sugary food can actually make your sensitive teeth even sorer at night. In case you did not know, these sugary food items and beverages like soda or candy thin out the enamel on your teeth. This leaves them vulnerable to other oral issues.
In fact, brushing right after having such food is no good either. Since your enamel is thin enough, it could get damaged. If you eat after brushing your teeth, there is a chance food debris will get stuck in your teeth, resulting in plaque.
- Absence of Distraction
During the day when you are doing things and busy at work or school, your brain is too occupied to feel the extent of the pain. You get by even though your tooth is aching. However, at night when you are done with everything and are in bed resting, your brain is more relaxed. Therefore, you can feel more pain, and that is why you think that your pain is worse at night.
The cause is basically the same whether day or night. However, the degree of pain feels stronger at night time. Ironically, the more noticeable, the more your sleep is disturbed, and as a result, you are not able to get proper rest.
What Should You Do if You Have Severe Toothaches at Night?
If you are sure that you have a toothache that actually exacerbates when you are trying to sleep, you have to pay attention and find out the root cause of the toothache first. In most cases, the pressure problem would be the main cause. However, it could also be a combination of the reasons described above.
The main cure is to get rid of the toothache altogether. If you do not have a toothache during the day, you will not have one at night either, let alone a worse one. If the problem is beyond your comprehension, do not waste time and see a dentist at the earliest.
Toothaches, especially at night, can become a bigger issue in the long run. Proper sleep is essential for good health, and if you are losing out on your sleep because of worsening toothache, you could be looking at long-term sleep issues. It is better to nip the ache in the bud and get rid of it before it turns into a real and severe problem. Later on, you will be spending even more money getting your sleep problem fixed than you would have spent to get rid of that toothache.
Now, that you know why do toothaches hurt more at night, it is time to take proper care of your teeth. Toothaches are usually caused by caries, tooth decay, abscessed tooth, wisdom tooth growth, bruxism, or sinusitis. If you have proper oral hygiene, you can avoid most of these issues altogether. Surprisingly enough, many people are unaware of what constitutes oral care.
According to experts, in addition to brushing your teeth at least twice a day, you must also use mouthwash and floss. Avoid eating after you have brushed your teeth and gone to bed. You should also see a dentist from time to time to see if everything is good, which is not a common practice since many people only visit the dentist when their pain becomes unbearable.