Chronic headaches can take over your life. For people who suffer with migraines or other headache disorders, you know how disruptive headaches can be. Still, headaches frequently get treated like a minor inconvenience instead of a major problem. That’s why the National Headache Foundation created a yearly event to advocate for sufferers. June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, and your dental team here at Lake Baldwin Dental is here to support our patients who suffer with headache diseases.
The Facts About Migraine and Headache Diseases
Everyone gets headaches from time to time. However, there are multiple disorders that can cause regular, frequent, or severe headaches that can seriously affect your life. About 40 million people in the US suffer with migraines. In fact, migraine is recognized as the #2 cause of disability worldwide. And that’s not even considering other headache diseases like cluster headaches.
Stress is a major headache trigger. Too much screen time, prolonged sitting, artificial light—there are many factors that can cause headaches to act up. Across the country, doctors have noticed a huge increase in severe and frequent headaches during the COVID pandemic. According to one survey, migraines have increased about 70% since the beginning of the pandemic.
Headache disease can affect your mood, concentration, and energy. It can make it difficult to function in your daily life and even cause problems in your relationships with other people. Worst of all, headaches still come with a lot of stigma because many people don’t recognize the true severity of the problem. Employers, spouses, and friends may belittle or dismiss your symptoms or act like you’re being overdramatic. Frequent headaches may not be seen as a legitimate reason to call out of work. That’s why events like National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month are so significant.
In the past several decades, there have been major improvements in how we treat headache disease. Unfortunately, our understanding of the root causes of migraine and other headache disorders is still incomplete. The good news is that we have been able to identify one factor that seems to have a major impact on many sufferers: their teeth.
Could Your Teeth Be Causing Your Headaches?
The exact causes of many headache diseases, including migraine, are unknown. What we do know is your teeth and jaw muscles can aggravate, and in some cases cause, your headache problems.
Most dental problems that cause headaches start with bite problems. If your teeth are misaligned and your bite is uneven, your jaw will have trouble finding the right place to rest. We tend to grind and clench our teeth searching for a healthy resting position. In other cases, stress and breathing problems can also cause grinding and jaw tension.
Overworking your jaw muscles can cause them to become stiff, sore, and inflamed. These symptoms can spread to other muscle groups, including the neck and upper back. Tension from the face and chewing muscles can trigger major headache symptoms for many patients. In some cases, grinding can even trigger a migraine if you already suffer from migraine disease!
The good news is that we have a variety of therapies to reduce jaw tension and help prevent your headaches! For many cases, all it takes is a simple guard to wear at night. Some patients benefit from correcting their bite with orthodontics or other interventions. We also have medications that can help, and sometimes Botox is a great option. There are also easy over-the-counter options that can help alleviate symptoms. From massage techniques to warm compresses, we may be able to guide you through some simple steps to get relief.
Don’t hesitate to let us know about your headache problems! We want to help you feel better as soon as possible.
And Vice Versa: When Headaches Cause Tooth Pain
Not only can tooth problems set your head spinning, but sometimes headaches can also make your teeth hurt! Sinus issues are a frequent cause of chronic headaches. The roots of your teeth and several of the nerves that serve your teeth pass through or very close to your sinus. When that pressure builds, it can actually press on the nerves connected to your teeth!
Every spring, many patients come into our office as an emergency visit, convinced they will need root canal therapy. Their top teeth are aching, throbbing, and biting down feels catastrophic. Sometimes the pressure can even send pain signals to the bottom teeth, too!
Sinus headaches aren’t the only type that can cause tooth pain. Migraine sufferers likewise report tooth pain associated with headaches. Even tension headaches can make chewing muscles so tight that it feels like your teeth might crack.
Regardless of whether your teeth are causing your headaches or vice versa, the link between these two things is clear. We’re not headache specialists and recommend talking to your physician about any severe or frequent symptoms. Especially if your headache came on fast or comes with any other symptoms like slurred speech or double vision. However, chronic sufferers may benefit from discussing their headache problems with Dr. Dunn and the LBD team!
We’re Always Here to Help If We Can!
Not every headache is related to dental health, of course. However, there can be little doubt about the potential relationship between your teeth and head pain. We are always here to help in any way we can. Don’t hesitate to let us know about any regular head pains in your life! Even if you don’t see a direct link, you may be surprised at the difference a few simple dental interventions could make. We’d be happy to discuss your symptoms at your next dental health check. Or call us to schedule a consultation any time! Keep smiling, Orlando!