Why Do Your Teeth Hurt When You Run?

Pain in your pearly whites might not necessarily mean that you’re experiencing health problems, but, on the other hand, it might just as well be the sign of an infection.

You’re probably expecting your quadriceps muscles or your calves to ache after a 5-miler, but how about your teeth?

Once your ivories started aching when you’re out for a jogging session, there are several potential reasons why, according to Jeffrey Laubmeier, D.M.D., dentist in Lakewood, Ohio, and member of the Academy for Sports Dentistry.

Let’s begin with the good parts: as your feet hit the ground when you run, the force of impact travels upward, ascending through your body. Provided you’re clenching your jaw or gritting your teeth, you’ll feel that pressure in your teeth, Laubmeier says. That’s the most common reason behind your pearly whites’ pain, he adds, and easily remediable: make sure your shoes aren’t worn through, to optimize shock absorption, and try to not clench as you pound the pavement.

Laubmeier warns that aching teeth mid-run could also be a sign of several different health issues. Firstly, the pain could be the sign of a sinus infection. Concerning most people, the upper teeth roots protrude into the maxillary sinuses, the largest sinus cavities located below the cheeks and on the sides of your nose. “If the sinus lining is irritated or infected, then the nerves entering the roots of the teeth can be as well,” he added. “Then, when the feet make an impact with the ground, the nerves of the teeth can be stimulated and cause a sharp pain.”

Pain while out for a run could also mean dental issues, namely, a cavity or an infection. Once you train, in any form, your blood pressure increases, while the boost in your blood flow can aggravate an existing dental infection, Laubmeier explained.

In any case, a cavity would be painful due to exposure to air, as you inhale and exhale. Bear in mind: cavities are, basically, just holes in your teeth, and that means liquids, air, food, and bacteria move forward inside. When you run, especially during cold weather, breathing allows cold air to enter your mouth and make its way through your tooth, stimulating the nerves and causing pain, Laubmeier explained.

Unfortunately, most of us won’t be able to differentiate between tooth pain and an actual sinus infection or a dental infection until whichever it is becomes full-fledged. If the problem persists, ask your dentist, Laubmeier advises. The ache, basically, is a warning sign for other potentially developing symptoms. But the dentist is able to take an X-ray to either diagnose or rule out an ailment. Maybe all you need to do is just to relax your jaw while running for a longer period of time.