Can Running Hurt Your Teeth?

by | May 3, 2021 | Dental Health

Do your teeth hurt when you run? This is actually a common ailment for many runners and athletes, but don’t let dental pain hold you back from achieving your running goals because there are things you can do about it. If you’ve been asking “can running hurt your teeth?” or experienced dental pain during a run, here are some things you should know:

Temperature Changes

The weather and temperature of the air can play a big factor in how your body feels during your run and your teeth are no exception. Usually, breathing through the mouth increases during intense exercise, which can result in any sensitive areas of your teeth reacting to the temperature fluctuations of the air moving in and out as you breathe. If you’ve had a workout where running hurt your teeth, resulting in discomfort, try to pay attention to things that may be impacting your teeth. This may include how intense your workout is at the time, whether it’s hot or cold outside and how you’re breathing.

Sinus Pressure

If you suffer from sinus congestion or inflammation, this can lead to tooth pain, sometimes affecting your whole mouth. If running hurts your teeth and you’re experiencing pain around your eyes or ears as well, this can be a sign that sinus pressure may be the cause of your discomfort. Using a saline solution to clear your sinuses and applying a warm compress, such a washcloth soaked in warm water, before and after your run might help to relieve some of the discomfort. A decongestant or allergy medication may also be helpful if your symptoms are severe or not relieved by natural remedies.

Clenching Your Jaw

Many people don’t notice when they are clenching their jaw, but it’s actually very common. Some runners clench their jaw when running on rough or difficult terrain or while attempting new things that require extra focus or strength. Try to notice next time you run if your jaw is relaxed. Your top and bottom teeth should not be touching when your jaw is in a relaxed position.

Increased Blood Flow

Running, like any other form of exercise, gets the heart pumping faster than usual, and that’s a good thing. That’s why we call it a cardio workout. Increased blood flow can mean increased blood pressure, though, which can also lead to a pounding or aching sensation in the teeth, making it seem as if running hurt your teeth.This may compound any existing pressure in your sinuses. Try to build up gradually to allow your body time to acclimate to your new exercise goals if intense exercise is causing your teeth to hurt when you run.

When to Call a Dentist

If your teeth hurt when you run, it’s always good to check in with your dentist to make sure there isn’t an underlying problem causing the increased sensitivity. Cavities or tooth decay, gum disease and other issues can all cause increased sensitivity and your dentist will be able to rule these out or provide treatment if needed to resolve the problem. Running is hard work and it’s important to make sure your body, including your teeth and gums, is healthy and free of unnecessary discomfort so that you can reach all your goals with the greatest speed and enjoyment.

Call our Traverse City Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.