Pain in the ear can be very annoying. Depending on the severity of the pain, the tolerance varies. But ear pain is not always due to a problem in this area. Sometimes it is oral problems that cause pain in the ear area. Because the ears and mouth have a common nerve, sometimes oral problems cause pain in the ear area. For more information on the relationship between earache and toothache, stay tuned with StrAIberry.
Ear infection and toothache
Ear infections or even ear pain can have different causes. Some people feel the pain in the upper or lower jaw or wisdom teeth. The ears have a common sensory nerve with the throat, larynx, and jaw. People may also have laryngeal cancer, but this may present with ear pain and feel pain in the internal ear. Pain in the back of the head is usually unrelated to the ear, and in very rare cases, a severe infection of the back of the ear causes a feeling of heaviness and pressure behind your ears and neck pain.
Ear problems can be diagnosed with a routine office examination, but it is interesting to know that 50% of people who present with ear pain have their main source in the jaw and teeth. Ear infections are usually divided into external and middle ear infections. The cause of external ear infection is the manipulation of the ear, swimming in polluted waters. The cause of middle ear infection is more related to the throat, and those who catch a cold get the infection from the throat.
How does toothache occur?
Toothache comes from inflammation in the central part of the tooth, called the pulp. The dental pulp contains nerve endings that are very sensitive to pain. Inflammation of the pulp or nerve of the tooth may be caused by tooth decay, trauma, and infection.
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What are the symptoms of toothache?
Toothache and jaw pains are the most common mouth and tooth discomforts. There may be severe pain when pressed or stimulated by cold and heat, and toothache may persist for fifteen seconds after removal of the stimulus. As the inflamed area of the pulp expands, the pain becomes more severe, and the pain may be reflected in the cheeks, ears, and jaw. Other symptoms that you should pay attention to and seek treatment for are:
- Pain in chewing
- Sensitivity to cold and heat
- Bleeding around the teeth or gums
- Swelling around the teeth or swelling of the jaw
- Trauma or irritation in the area
These symptoms can sometimes be accompanied by tooth decay or gum disease. Tooth decay or a red area around the gum line may indicate the source of the pain. If you gently tap an infected tooth, the pain may become more severe. This pain is an indicator of a tooth problem, even if the tooth looks healthy.
Ear infections and oral health in adults
In adults, ear infections and toothaches may no longer be easy to diagnose because they have a similar nerve line. Here are some ear infections that are related to oral health:
The infection may spread from the gums to other parts of the head. The fact is that gum disease and oral infections can affect other parts of the body as well. Research shows that people with gum disease are more likely to develop diabetes and heart disease. There are similar conditions for the ear. Some bacteria may not be strong enough to reach the heart, but they can easily reach the ear and cause an ear infection.
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An acute tooth abscess, a condition in which the tooth becomes infected, is usually accompanied by severe pain. This pain often spreads along the nerve pathway that connects the damaged tooth to the brain. If the tooth is involved in the back of the jaw, the nerve attached to the tooth may be very close or even directly connected to the ears and cause pain.
Trigeminal nerve pain
Trigeminal neuralgia is a condition in which severe facial pain spreads along the branches of the fifth cranial nerve (trigeminal nerve), and the pain may reach the corners.
Sinus infections usually involve significant pain that originates from the maxillary sinus, a hollow structure beneath the cheekbones. When the sinus becomes infected or inflamed, fluid often builds up inside it, which can put pressure on the trigeminal nerve branches and cause pain. The pain may also spread along an area, including the ears.
Temporomandibular joint disorder
Temporomandibular joint disorder, often TMJ or TMD disorder, is a condition in which the jaw joints work abnormally – the sound of bumps, ticks, locks, and so on. This problem can come from a variety of factors, and the disease is often accompanied by pain. Because the jaw joints are located very close to the ear canal, it is very difficult to detect pain originating from the joints or inside the ear.
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Jaw muscle pain (myalgia) may spread along nerve pathways that are difficult to distinguish from earache.
Inflammation of the jaw bone
Inflammation of the jawbone is another condition that may look like an earache. This inflammation is a condition in which the bony protrusion behind the ear becomes painful and throbbing, and that is when the air cells in this part of the bone become inflamed or infected. Air cell infections of this bone are usually caused by an infection of the middle ear (otitis media) that spreads from the ear to the surrounding bone. Redness or swelling may be seen behind the ear, and this condition is sometimes treated with injectable antibiotics and then with oral antibiotics.
Pain from an ear infection may be accompanied by toothache. Because there is a common nerve line between the teeth and the ears, the pain from the ear infection may extend to the teeth and gums. Some patients may think that tooth decay has caused them pain while they are actually having an ear infection.
Extracted teeth can cause spasms of the jaw muscles, which causes ear pain. When they have a spasm, the pain pulses they send propagate to your ear and the area around. Ear pain is normal after tooth extraction. If your pain gets worse or stays the same, call your doctor. Your earache may be caused by tooth extraction, an ear infection, or an infection at the tooth extraction site.
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Ear infections and oral health in children
Because children are more prone to ear infections, parents should be aware of the symptoms. Children can pinpoint the location of the pain, but in some cases, ear pain may be confused with jaw pain and toothache. Parents may assume that the child has a toothache because children are also more likely to have tooth decay. You need to look at the symptoms carefully to determine what is causing the pain.
It has also been shown that chewing xylitol gum in preschool children can reduce ear infections. An explanation for this may be that chewing gum stops the bacteria growth in the mouth. The mouth, ears, and nose are anatomically connected, affecting other parts of the head as well.