What Toothaches Say About Your Oral Hygiene

If you have begun to feel a little bit of pain or sensitivity in and around your tooth, then you might be experiencing a toothache. Your first thought might be that it is due to bad hygiene. While this might be true, it may not be the only cause of your toothache. In this article, we’ll dive a bit into what toothaches say about your oral hygiene. 

What Toothaches Say About Your Oral Hygiene

As we have already mentioned, toothaches are a result of pain caused by gum irritation. The gums are lined with some of the most sensitive nerve endings in your body. When these nerves are irritated or infected, they become extremely painful to bear.

  • Tooth decay: this is the most common cause of dental pain and is caused by poor oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing regularly can prevent this from occurring.
  • A bacterial infection from inside the tooth: This painful infection occurs when a cavity penetrates down the root of the tooth and exposes the nerve endings of the gums. This can result in swollen gums and a potential loss of the tooth, not to mention, it can be excruciatingly painful. 
  • Broken tooth: If you’ve ever played sports, you know what it is like to chip your tooth. Unfortunately, if your tooth is broken or chipped in the wrong place, the fragments can get lodged into the surrounding gum nerve endings and cause lots of pain. 
  • Damaged fillings: Broken or loose fillings can allow debris or saliva to enter into the cavity and cause eventual tooth decay and, naturally, toothaches, if left unattended by a dentist. 
  • Repetitive grinding or clenching of teeth: The strain of continuous grinding puts pressure on the tooth and jaw and results in not just toothaches but also jaw and neck pain as well. Bruxism can damage the surface of the tooth, so individuals with this issue need to get mouthguards in the short term and psychological help in the long term. 
  • Infected gums: Another issue that is caused by poor oral hygiene, gum disease happens when plaque builds up on your teeth and is not removed on a regular basis. When left untreated, the bacteria from this plaque attack the gums and, if left untreated, can cause tooth decay and eventual loss of an affected tooth. 
  • Tooth eruptions or wisdom tooth crowding: Since there is no room in the mouth for wisdom teeth, they end up becoming impacted and eventually push the other teeth out of alignment. This process can also result in infections from overcrowding and is the main reason why most individuals need to get their wisdom teeth removed at a certain age. 


As you can see, tooth decay, bacterial infections, and infected gums might be a result of poor hygiene on the part of the individual. The other causes of toothaches may not have anything to do with how well the individual takes care of their teeth, but might be caused by something else entirely. 

You will know that you are feeling a toothache if you can feel a sharp, constant throbbing sensation when the nerve in the affected tooth has felt pressure in some way. There is also a bit of swelling around the tooth that can result, as well as foul-tasting drainage from the infected tooth that can cause a horrendous odor coming from the mouth. This is likely a reason for the presupposition that people with toothaches are likely accustomed to poor oral hygiene. 

In several instances, individuals have been ashamed to see a doctor because of potentially being judged for this. It is important, however, to understand that a professional will be able to get to the root cause of the issue which may or may not have anything to do with current hygiene practices. Additionally, dental checkups should be done on a regular basis to make sure that infections have been tamped down or follow-up treatment is needed. 

Home Remedies for Toothaches

If the pain is just too much to bear and your nearest dental office or emergency room is inaccessible for some reason, then there are a few treatments you can try out for yourself at home: 

  • Salt water rinse: Saltwater can help loosen debris and reduce inflammation. Make sure to stir salt into a glass of warm water to properly dissolve it. 
  • Hydrogen peroxide rinse: Diluting hydrogen peroxide with equal parts water and rinsing your mouth with it can reduce the inflammation and pain you feel. 
  • Cold compresses: You can wrap ice in a towel and press it against your jaw and neck for twenty-minute periods in order to feel immense relief. 
  • Pain medication: Over-the-counter drugs like Tylenol and Motrin (acetaminophen and ibuprofen) can go very far in relieving any tooth pain that you have. Taken in combination with the home remedies listed above, it should give you great relief from the pain for a number of hours. 
  • Natural remedies: Natural compounds like clove oil, vanilla extract, peppermint tea, and garlic are very old remedies but surprisingly effective when it comes to dialing tooth pain back down. Making sure you are using just the right amount of the remedy can help alleviate symptoms and kill bacteria. 


While a toothache might not necessarily say anything about your oral hygiene, you may want to get it checked out by your dentist regardless, in case you have some blind spots. Thanks to modern medicine as well as older home remedies, there are a number of ways we can treat the root causes of tooth pain. Regardless, making sure you follow regular oral hygiene practices can be a surefire way to prevent the negative aspects of toothaches.