Running is one of the most popular forms of exercise in the world. It’s the cheapest, requires the least amount of equipment and you can do it pretty much anywhere. There are many different types of aches and pains that runners both new and experienced often face, but one that often goes overlooked is pain associated with the teeth.
It doesn’t matter if you are practicing for an upcoming marathon or if you are leisurely jogging with a group of friends, tooth pain that comes on suddenly while exercising can be confusing and frustrating. It can range from a tolerable dull ache to sharp pain that leaves you unable even to finish your run.
One of the most common reasons for pain or discomfort in the teeth when running is due to impact. If you’re clenching your teeth or jaws when you run, the impact may be traveling from your feet as they hit the ground, up through your body into your mouth. The first thing to do is be conscious about relaxing your jaw and not clenching while you run or lift those heavy weights. It’s also a good idea to replace your shoes before they get too worn out. Choosing a shoe that is a good shock absorber can be a great way to help not only your jaws and teeth but all of your joints, especially if you are prone to striking the ground first with your heel.
Infection or Cavity
During exercise, blood flow is increased to your entire body, and this can bring attention to an infection or cavity that may have gone unnoticed before. Another thing to keep in mind is that a cavity causes a hole in your tooth. This exposes the hypersensitive nerves to the cold air you may be breathing when you run, as well.
Dr. John Pappas, DDS, Phoenix area cosmetic and family dentist says,
“The infection can also stem from the gums. Gum disease, even in it’s earliest stage, can cause the gums to become swollen, red and sensitive. When the increase in blood flow that occurs with exercise reaches the mouth, it can cause pain or discomfort in the gums due to the sensitivity associated with gum disease. The good news is, gum disease in it’s earliest stage is completely reversible with treatment.”
Unless you’ve recently studied Anatomy and Physiology, many of us don’t realize that the roots of our upper molars are actually extremely close to the sinus cavity. When we have a sinus infection or even the beginning stages of one, the sinus cavity swells and becomes inflamed. Sometimes, this can cause the pain to seem like it’s coming from the teeth due to their extremely close proximity. Makes sense, right?
If you find yourself breathing through your mouth more often than your nose, you may experience dry mouth. Without proper hydration before and after vigorous training sessions, this can be even more of a problem. Dry mouth can lead to tooth sensitivity which can cause pain or discomfort when exposed to the air, especially in cooler temperatures. When your mouth is dry, and saliva is not present, it also makes teeth more prone to cavities and infection.