Managing Wellness

Ear Infection Symptoms: What Your Tooth Pain Could Be Telling You

  • Jaw or tooth pain could be a sign of an ear infection
  • The body can clear ear infections on its own in many cases
  • While ear infections often cause pain, these infections shouldn't have long-lasting effects on teeth
Posted by May 18, 2018

Ear infection symptoms can vary depending on where the infection is located. You might suffer from an earache and fever, or experience dizziness and nausea. However, there’s one symptom you might not be aware is connected to the infection: tooth pain.

That’s right — tooth pain can develop as a result of an untreated ear infection. While the pain can be addressed, those who suffer from chronic ear infections often wonder if the issue can have any long-lasting effects on their teeth. Learn more about the link between ear infections and oral health below.

Oral Health and Ear Infection Symptoms

If you’re experiencing mouth pain, it could be a sign of an ear infection. In some cases, undiagnosed ear infections can lead to tooth or jaw pain. Thankfully, pain in your ears, teeth or jaw can often be treated with over-the-counter pain medication. If you regularly suffer from ear infections, long-lasting side effects on your teeth shouldn’t be a concern.

Does Poor Oral Care Affect Ears?

Poor oral hygiene seems like it could be a cause of ear infections, as bacteria build-up in the ears often leads to infections and mouths are bacterial breeding grounds. But surprisingly, one study concluded that there isn’t a significant relationship between ear infections and poor oral hygiene. The link between your mouth and ear infections is simply the pain you may experience in your teeth and jaw when your ears are infected.

Treating Ear Infections

Because of potential side effects from the antibiotics used to treat ear infections (and the fact that antibiotic overuse can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria), Nemours suggests a “wait-and-see” approach for treating most types of ear infections. That’s because the body can fight off ear infections on its own, in many cases, without the need for antibiotics.

Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen are used to manage pain (in the ear, jaw or teeth). If ear infections occur often or are severe, antibiotics may be prescribed by a doctor.

Reducing Tooth Pain

If ear infection pain radiates toward your teeth or jaw, over-the-counter pain medication that’s used for ear pain can help with mouth or tooth discomfort. You shouldn’t require prescription pain medication for ear infections, but let your doctor know if the pain is unmanageable. Maintaining proper brushing and flossing techniques, making regular trips to the dentist for professional cleanings and finding alternatives to sweet treats are all good ways to help prevent tooth and gum pain caused by cavities or gingivitis.

Communicating With Your Dentist

If you’re experiencing tooth pain, your dentist will help you determine the cause. While tooth and jaw pain could be related to ear infections, you might be comforted to realize that frequent ear infections shouldn’t have long-lasting effects on your teeth or gums.

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