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Teeth Pain While Running

author image Van Thompson
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.
Teeth Pain While Running
A woman is jogging outside. Photo Credit: CEBImagery/iStock/Getty Images

Tooth pain can be debilitating, particularly when you're already struggling with an intense run. It may seem strange, but running can affect your teeth, though it's usually factors incidental to the run rather than the run itself that causes the pain. In some cases, it's mere coincidence that your teeth begin hurting when you're running, so if the pain continues after your run or is very intense, call a dentist.

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Tense Jaw Muscles

The body responds to the strain of running in a variety of ways, and some people clench their jaws when they run. If the pain is generalized, rather than concentrated in a specific spot, it could be a sign of a tense jaw. Massage can help, but it's also important to focus on keeping all of your muscles loose as you run. If you regularly clench your jaw or grind your teeth, you could have a condition called temporomandibular joint disorder that causes chronic jaw pain. Monitor yourself for symptoms when you're not running, and call your dentist if they continue.

Cold Sensitivity

If you run in cold or windy weather, running might not be to blame. Many people experience cold sensitivity in their teeth, and the sensitivity can get worse if you breathe through your mouth, letting in more cold air. Some people's teeth are naturally sensitive, but whitening treatments and excessive brushing can make the sensitivity worse. If you haven't talked with your dentist about your sensitivity to cold, make an appointment to ensure you don't have a cavity or gum disease.

Increased Circulation

As you run, your heart rate increases and your circulation improves. This means there's more blood flowing into your gums and the surrounding areas. If you already have an oral health problem such as a cavity or gum disease, this increased circulation may cause an increase in throbbing or general sensitivity. If you feel a throbbing sensation or a dull ache in your mouth, it's likely that you have a cavity or gum disease.

Food Sensitivities

If you load up on carbs before a run, your teeth could be reacting to the food you eat rather than to the run itself. If you already have oral health problems such as tooth decay or gum disease, the high sugar content of carbohydrates can irritate sensitive teeth. When food causes your teeth to hurt, it's a sure sign that something's amiss, so you'll need a dental check-up.

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