According to the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain (AACP), an estimated 80% of all headaches occur from muscle tension, and a lot of this tension can be attributed to your bite. Headaches from dental stress are a type of muscle tension headache.
Tension headaches may occur on one side of your head or the other, or can surround your head. The pain from a tension headache feels like a dull, ever-present ache. These types of headaches are usually relieved by aspirin and a little rest. Specific signs that may indicate that your tension has a dental origin include:
- Pain behind the eyes
- Sore jaw muscles or “tired” muscles upon awakening
- Teeth grinding
- Clicking or popping jaw joints
- Head and/or scalp painful to the touch
So how does muscle tension in the mouth lead to a headache? Many people don’t realize that every time they swallow, the upper and lower teeth must come together in a firm way to brace the jaw against the skull. Since we swallow over 2000 times each day and night, if your bite is unstable (from poorly aligned teeth or even a missing tooth) the muscles have to work harder to bring the teeth together. These overworked muscles become strained, and when muscles are under constant strain, they eventually become painful.
If you think that your headaches may be caused by your bite, contact your dentist! Your dentist will examine your teeth, your muscles, and your jaw joints to determine if dental stress is the source of your headaches. If so, treatment will involve correcting your bite so that the muscles can function without extra strain and tension.
Do you have more questions about headaches and your dental health? Contact the professionals at DentaLux today, or leave a comment below!