Have you noticed sudden jaw pain when you’re chewing food? Does it make you wince to apply pressure on your teeth? Though there could be a few causes behind jaw pain when chewing, this type of pain is often associated with gum disease (or periodontal disease).
How do you know if you should visit your periodontist for jaw pain?
Stages of Gum Disease
We often have patients come to us saying, “my tooth hurts when I put pressure on it” or “my back tooth hurts when I chew”. Unfortunately, these can be telltale signs that a person is in a progressed stage of gum disease. It’s extremely important that you visit us if you notice these symptoms, so we can begin treatment and prevent further damage to your gums.
When a person is negligent in brushing and flossing their teeth, bacteria begins to build up between the teeth and gums. As bacteria builds up, the first stage of gum disease (gingivitis) is realized. If gingivitis goes untreated, it progresses to periodontitis. From here, the disease develops into the third stage: advanced periodontitis.
Jaw Pain When Chewing: Through Stages of Gum Disease
When gum disease progresses to the second and third stages, the gums become increasingly tender. Gums start to recede from the teeth, creating pockets between the gums and teeth. These pockets accumulate bacteria, leading to an infection in the gums. As the gums recede, the periodontal tissues that hold the teeth in place start to break down. Teeth become loose as they’re no longer supported by the gums, and bone loss starts to occur.
When the gums are receding and the jaw bone is losing its density, tenderness in the gums intensifies. The teeth no longer have enough support from the deteriorating periodontal tissues, so the teeth become loose. This is when chewing or applying pressure to the teeth becomes sore or painful.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
- Bright red, swollen gums
- Bleeding gums when flossing, brushing or eating
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
- Consistently bad breath / bad tastes in the mouth
- Teeth hurt when biting down
- Throbbing tooth pain that comes and goes
How to Prevent Gum Disease
To avoid jaw soreness that comes with gum disease, your best defense is to prevent gum disease before it happens. Here’s what you can do to prevent gum disease:
- Brush teeth at least twice a day and between meals if possible
- Floss every day
- Stop smoking
- Eat a balanced diet; don’t overload on sugary, sweet, or sticky foods
- Receive regular dental checkups and periodontal cleanings
If you haven’t given much consideration to your gums, it’s time to start preventative care today! Once the jaw becomes painful and chewing food is unpleasant, it’s possible that your case of gum disease has progressed to the later stages. We want to stop gum disease before it’s even begun!