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Toothache (cont.)

Toothache Follow-up

After leaving the dentist's office, continue to practice good dental care, but be careful not to self-medicate or use numerous over the counter (OTC) oral rinses as they can sometimes exacerbate or prolong problems. Routine and prompt follow-up appointments with the dentist can relieve dental pain faster.

When the patient leaves the emergency department, he or she should take the medications as prescribed and keep their follow-up appointments. If the patient has any concerning signs or symptoms, call the doctor.

Stopping smoking may help improve some dental conditions. If the patient is having trouble quitting, talk to the doctor about assistance.

Is It Possible to Prevent a Toothache?

Most people can avoid severe dental problems with regular dental care. Have the dentist's telephone number easily available in case of an emergency.

  • Maintain a healthy diet and brush and floss often. Bacteria thrive on refined sugar and starch and need this in order to burrow through the enamel on teeth. One should watch what they eat and be careful about food that sticks to and between the teeth. Regular brushing habits can be key to tooth pain prevention. Brushing after eating or adding foods that can act as a natural toothbrush should be part of one's preventive care routine (end meals with a salad or apple). Brush to remove food particles using a soft toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste as recommended by the American Dental Association. (Xylitol in toothpaste or a mouth rinse will help reduce bacteria.) Floss between teeth daily and brush the gums to encourage healthy gums. Water jets are effective at removing trapped particles, but flossing the teeth does a more thorough job when done carefully.
  • Prevent tooth decay with fluoride and xylitol. Fluoride is effective in preventing tooth decay in children. Fluoride is a natural element and is found in many water supplies and vegetables. Check and see if tap water is fluoridated. If the water is not fluoridated, the dentist can prescribe fluoride tablets or fluoride supplements for children younger than 10 years of age. Xylitol is a natural product of birch trees and bacteria see it as a food source just like they consume carbohydrates and simple sugars. However, bacteria cannot break down xylitol so it neutralizes bacteria.
  • There are other more modern toothpastes and topical gels that can be placed on the teeth to help fight off acid attack from bacteria and help to remineralize damage caused to the teeth by bacteria. These newer types of products typically contain xylitol, casein phosphopeptide (CPP), amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP), and fluoride.
  • One should arrange to have the teeth cleaned by a dentist or dental hygienist at least twice a year. This has been shown to be effective in preventing both decay and gum disease. Dental X-rays may be needed every year to identify problem areas.
  • One should keep their bridge or dentures clean. The dentist can offer suggestions. Even if one does not have all of their original adult teeth, they can prevent new dental problems if they try these preventive tips.
  • Wear a protective dental guard or headgear while playing sports to help prevent injury.
  • Do not smoke. Tobacco smoking may make some dental conditions worse.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/11/2017

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