Dispelling Two Troublesome Toothache Myths

Pretty Lady with ToothacheA dull jaw ache when it rains, lingering sensitivity when you sip your coffee, a knee-buckling twinge when you bite down on a piece of food. Toothaches can take multiple forms and the causes of a toothache can range from something as innocuous as a tightly lodged piece of popcorn to a deep, infected cavity. Old wives’ tales about toothaches are numerous and, unfortunately, following this questionable advice can result in a worsening oral health situation. Today, we’re shining some light on two of the more persistent toothache-related myths.

“Stick an Aspirin On It.”

This pervasive myth makes a certain amount of sense: if you have a toothache, place an aspirin on the gum next to the tooth and the pain will go away. Aspirin works on headaches, so why won’t it work on a toothache? The problem underlying this myth is twofold. First, aspirin is made from acetylsalicylic acid, which will cause a chemical burn on moist, sensitive gum and cheek tissue. Second, aspirin works by moving through the bloodstream and blocking pain receptors and must be taken orally to work. Placing an aspirin on your gums will not reduce the pain at the site because aspirin simply doesn’t work that way.

“If It Stops Hurting, You’re in the Clear.”

Wishful thinking and ignoring the facts can make this myth particularly attractive. After all, if your tooth has been hurting for a few days or weeks and you wake up one morning with the pain miraculously gone, who are you to question a good thing? Unfortunately, the serious oral health problems that often underlie a toothache will not simply go away and never come back. Your teeth are one of the few parts of your body that do not heal themselves and even if the pain temporarily goes away, you still need to schedule an emergency appointment with your dentist.

About Peddicord Family Dentistry

Dr. Erika Peddicord earned her DDS degree from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and opened Peddicord Family Dental in 2009. Her enthusiasm for building lasting relationships with her patients and her dedication to oral health set her apart as an outstanding family and cosmetic dentist. New and returning patients can schedule an appointment with Dr. Peddicord at our Ankeny, IA dentist’s office by calling (515) 963-3339. We proudly serve patients and families in Bondurant, Polk City, Elkhart, Alleman, and Cambridge.