When you're a runner, you know that nearly all body parts can cause you pain, whether it's toes, shins, shoulders or neck. However did you ever think your teeth would be on that list?
Running-related tooth pain can be more than just irritating — chronic pain can also dissuade you from future exercise. It can be caused by a variety of factors and conditions, some that require the attention of a dentist or doctor. Because symptoms can be excruciating, it is important to understand why tooth pain can occur while running and how it can be remedied.
A Pain in the Mouth
When it comes to tooth pain, one size doesn't fit all. Tooth pain while running can vary from mild to extreme and appear as a sharp, throbbing or shooting sensation. You can also notice additional symptoms such as a painful jaw, headache, ear pain, anxiety, congestion, swelling beneath and around the eyes, a sore throat, cough, fatigue and fever.
Symptoms can worsen if you run in extreme temperatures such as when the weather is very hot or cold.
The Culprit Behind the Pain
The impact that occurs when your feet strike the ground during jogging can reverberate up into your jaw and teeth. This impact can cause pain in the mouth if you have a cavity, food trapped in your teeth, an abscess tooth, cracked tooth or tooth decay. In fact, tooth sensitivity is one of the first signs of a cavity or tooth decay.
You can also experience tooth pain if you tend to grind or clench your teeth while running, particularly when you're going super-hard up a hill or during sprints. Some conditions, such as sinusitis, can cause mucus to build up in the sinuses, which can result in tooth pain.
Look at Your Posture
If your dentist has ruled out cavities or other mouth issues, take a look at your posture while running — particularly if you've recently been injured. If you're putting a heftier impact on one side of your body (such as if you're compensating for an injury), you might feel that extra punch as pain in your teeth.
Making It Feel Better
If the pain is really bugging you, stop running and drink some water. This could loosen any food stuck in your teeth — and the problem might be solved. If it's not, massage the muscles in your jaw and face with your fingertips to help relieve pressure and pain.
You might also apply oil of cloves or an over-the-counter antiseptic that contains benzocaine directly onto the painful tooth when you are done running. Take ibuprofen, aspirin or acetaminophen to help ease symptoms. Practice relaxation techniques before your running routine such as deep breathing or yoga.
Next time you head out on a run, take notice of your mouth when you run. What is your breathing like? Are you clenching your jaw? This could provide some answers.
Time to See the Doc
If the pain is severe or doesn't go away, it's time to see your dentist. There could be a cavity brewing, or something even more serious going on in your mouth, such as structural damage. Before you visit, write down when you first felt the pain, how often you feel it and if anything in particular triggers it.