Mouth Pain: Possible Causes and Solutions

Young female patient experiencing mouth pain


There’s nothing more frightening than an irritation in your tooth or gums. After all, our smiles are so important. Your smile is the first thing people notice when they meet you. You depend on your teeth to chew your food. When your dental health is less than its best, it’s hard to ignore. 

While some issues work out on their own, they can also build up to decay and eventual erosion of your teeth. This will be much more financially and mentally taxing later on. Instead, use this guide to help you stay on top of your dental health. Once you’ve identified the possible source of your symptoms, it’s time to look into treatment. 

Signs Something is Wrong 

Dental problems aren’t shy — you’ll often know something is wrong. Here are some of the most important symptoms to watch out for. 

  • Discomfort when drinking hot or cold liquids
  • Pain upon biting down
  • Bleeding while flossing
  • Sores in one irritated area
  • Holes or stains on a particular, sensitive tooth
  • Discolored areas

If you’re experiencing any of these, it’s time to get help. Our first impulse may be to just get through the pain, but dental issues greatly detract from quality of life and rarely get better without action.

Types of Conditions

To treat your mouth pain, you must first pinpoint what type of pain it is. These are the most common irritants along with their unique signs. We’ve also included actions to avoid to prevent these types of damage, and ways to cope with the discomfort until you’re able to come in for an appointment

Canker Sores

Canker sores are a type of small, shallow lesion that form on the inside of the mouth. You’ll feel an aching or hypersensitivity in a centralized spot, especially when eating or drinking. Upon inspection, you’ll see an ulcer-like patch on the irritated area. 

The good news is that this type of mouth pain usually resolves itself between one and two weeks. Also, unlike cold sores, canker sores are not contagious. To help heal the canker sore faster, you can make use of salt water mouth rinses or topical anesthetics to help with the pain. 

Tooth Grinding 

If you feel soreness in your teeth and jaw in the morning, this is likely because you were clenching or grinding your teeth in your sleep. Over time, your teeth will be worn down, weakened, and cracked. This is often stress-related, but there is also a strong genetic component

If you are experiencing this, talk to your dentist about investing in a nightguard as soon as possible. It will be a barrier between your teeth, absorbing the impact and preserving your teeth. Sleeping with it will take getting used to, but it will help immensely, relieving pain and preventing further irreversible damage to your molars. 


Cavities are small holes that have formed in the teeth. If visible, they look like a small dark spot on the tooth. Cavities begin as dental caries, and further rot into the tooth if left alone. They can also cause sharp pain when eating something sweet or drinking something hot or cold. 

These are not reversible without treatment, but there are things you can do to keep them from getting worse. Brush at least twice a day and remember to floss. If you’re getting consistent cavities, you may need to move your diet away from acids and sugars, and make sure you’re taking proper care of your dental hygiene. 

Gum Disease 

Gum disease (also known as gingivitis or periodontal disease) is one of the most common dental issues. It’s caused by improper dental hygiene, and is characterized by irritation around the gumline.

 The most significant sign of this is bleeding, especially when flossing. Your gums will be red, puffy, and sensitive to touch. You might also notice an unpleasant odor in your mouth. 

This might scare you away from flossing, but it’s precisely what you need to do. Make sure to thoroughly brush every corner and floss all the way to your back molars. To help with bacteria buildup around the gums and combat the mouth odor, you can rinse your mouth with diluted hydrogen peroxide

Cracked Tooth

A cracked tooth is one of the most painful things to deal with. You’ll notice the area around the tooth will be swollen, and you’ll acutely notice any pressure on the tooth. Chewing will be very difficult to do without major discomfort. As the pulp of the tooth is exposed, it’s far more susceptible to bacteria—this can cause the tooth to become infected, which can quickly become dangerous. 

If you feel a crack in your tooth or experience the telltale symptoms, contact your dentist right away to seek treatment. Leaving a cracked tooth untreated will lead to severe pain and expensive procedures later on. 

Getting Professional Help with Your Mouth Pain 

Two entirely different conditions can have the same symptoms, so diagnosis without a professional’s help can be tricky. Rather than agonizing over a false self-diagnosis, speak to one of our dental professionals. Our dentists are highly qualified with years of training, with a fantastic team to support your recovery. 

If you are experiencing mouth pain, don’t wait to make an appointment. Most types of minor mouth pain are manageable until you’re able to be seen, but more severe cases can qualify as an emergency. Let your dentist know immediately if you are experiencing the following:

  • Your mouth pain is severe and persistent. 
  • Excessive bleeding (more than just stained floss)
  • Your jaw is swollen
  • A canker sore gets bigger
  • Ongoing headaches
  • You don’t feel your tooth at all (this means the infection has spread to the root, which needs immediate attention to preserve the tooth)
  • A tooth is wobbling

If you are experiencing any of these things, it’s often a sign of severe tooth or gum decay. Your risk of losing a tooth or experiencing further painful complications is very high. 

Don’t Take Chances with Your Dental Health 

If you’re having persistent mouth pain, don’t ignore it and hope it will get better. Discomfort is not a condition—it’s a symptom. Your body is sounding the alarm that something is wrong. If you ignore this, it’ll worsen, resulting in tooth and gum damage. 
Your discomfort can be treated. Our team will readily restore your smile and your peace of mind. Contact us today to book an appointment!

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