Why Do My Teeth Hurt When I Have a Cold?

person having cold

When we catch a cold, the last thing we expect is for our teeth to start hurting. Yet, for many individuals, this seemingly unrelated discomfort can be an uncomfortable side effect of the common cold. While we often associate a runny nose, sore throat, and congestion with this viral infection, the connection between cold symptoms and dental pain is not as well understood. In this article, we will delve into the reasons why your teeth might ache when you have a cold, shedding light on this issue and offering some insights on how to find relief.

When you have a cold, your nasal passages and sinuses can become congested and inflamed. This congestion can create pressure in your sinus cavities, which are located very close to the upper teeth. This pressure can radiate to the teeth, leading to a dull or throbbing toothache.

Potential Causes of Tooth Pain From A Cold

There are many factors from a cold that could potentially cause tooth pain. From sinus congestion to increased tooth sensitivity, let’s take a look at the potential causes of tooth pain from a cold:

Sinus Congestion

During a cold, nasal passages and sinuses often swell and congest. This congestion exerts pressure on the nearby sinus cavities, situated close to the upper teeth, resulting in potential tooth discomfort. This pressure may manifest as a persistent, dull, or throbbing toothache, as it radiates from the congested sinus areas to the affected teeth.

Tooth Sensitivity

Cold viruses can lead to increased production of mucus and saliva in the mouth. This extra moisture can make your teeth more sensitive to temperature changes, including exposure to cold air or fluids. Consequently, consuming cold drinks or breathing in cold air may trigger tooth sensitivity and discomfort.

Tooth Grinding

Some individuals tend to grind or clench their teeth when they are unwell or experiencing discomfort. This habit, known as bruxism, can put extra stress on your teeth and jaw, causing pain and soreness.

Weakened Immune System

During a cold, your body’s immune system is actively fighting off the virus. This immune response can divert resources away from other bodily functions, potentially affecting the health of your teeth and gums. Weakened immunity can make your teeth more vulnerable to bacterial infections and exacerbate any existing dental issues.


Illness can lead to dehydration as a result of fever, increased mucus production, or reduced fluid intake. A dry mouth can contribute to dental problems like tooth decay and gum irritation, which may manifest as toothache during a cold.

How To Stop Your Teeth From Hurting When You Have A Cold

To manage toothache during a cold, follow these steps: Maintain good oral hygiene by gentle brushing, using a soft-bristle toothbrush, and sensitive toothpaste. Avoid extreme temperature foods and drinks. If sinus congestion is a factor, try over-the-counter decongestants. Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help. Stay hydrated and get ample rest to support your immune system. Consult a Dorking dentist for a check-up if the pain persists or worsens for a thorough evaluation and proper treatment.

How Long Does Sinus Pressure in Teeth Last?

Sinus pressure in teeth typically accompanies conditions like sinusitis or sinus infections, where inflammation of the sinus cavities affects nearby dental nerves. The duration of this discomfort can vary widely, depending on the underlying cause and the effectiveness of treatment. In many cases, sinus pressure-related tooth pain may persist for as long as the sinus issue persists, which can range from a few days to several weeks. 

Resolving the root cause of sinusitis, such as treating the infection or managing allergies, is key to alleviating tooth pain. Once the sinus condition improves, tooth discomfort should gradually subside. However, if the pain persists beyond the expected recovery period or worsens, consulting a dentist or healthcare provider is advisable to rule out any dental complications or secondary issues that may require additional treatment.