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Toothaches can keep you from being able to focus on daily tasks, and they make it hard to eat and drink, as it is painful and can be sensitive to temperature. But what causes toothaches, and what can you do to stop them?

If you have a toothache, first rinse your mouth out with warm water–not cold or hot. Then, gently use floss or another interdental cleaner to remove any food particles stuck between your teeth. If the pain continues, call your dentist. DO NOT apply aspirin to the affected area, as that may burn your gum tissue.

Toothaches typically mean you have tooth decay, also called a cavity. A cavity is the deterioration of the hard outer layer of your tooth. In more rare cases, a toothache could indicate an abscessed or impacted tooth. Be sure to check with your dentist early to avoid these painful problems.

Cavities happen when the enamel of the tooth—the hard, protective casing that surrounds the softer inner tissue–decays. Cavities are more common in children, but changes in the mouth allow tooth decay to happen to adults as well. An abscessed tooth has an infection inside the soft tissue, which can lead to pulp death, swelling, and serious damage to the surrounding tissues. An impacted tooth is one that remains stuck in gum tissue or bone. Any of these emergencies can cause a toothache.

The best way to help a toothache is to prevent it in the first place! Brushing twice a day for two minutes, flossing once a day, and scheduling regular dentist appointments can help prevent cavities and other dental emergencies. The sooner your dentist can address the issue, the better! Your dentist will be a great help in the care and prevention of cavities and other tooth damage.

The faster your dentist can diagnose the issue, the more likely the tooth can be saved. So if you have a toothache, call Creekside Dental at 509.577.8277 immediately!