Possible Causes, and How to Treat It

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Possible Causes, and How to Treat It


Your teeth itch.

Or at least you think that they do — and you’re starting to feel a little anxious about it.

But are your teeth actually itchy?

You could be perceiving another similar sensation like pain as itchiness, or it could be the tissues inside or adjacent to your teeth that are itching. Itchy gums may lead to teeth that feel itchy, too.

Let’s learn about the potential causes and how to treat them.

A there are a number of reasons why you think your teeth feel itchy.

Allergies

Allergies can cause the tissue inside your mouth to become sensitive, swollen, and itchy.

Oral allergy syndrome, or Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome (PFAS), can create this type of unpleasant situation when you eat something that your immune system doesn’t like.

You may notice that the roof of your mouth itches, or your gums feel itchy — which may make you feel like your teeth are itchy.

For example, you may not even realize that you have an allergy to strawberries until you gobble a few, only to realize that your throat, mouth and gums are inflamed and itchy.

Plaque build-up

When plaque starts to build up along your gumline, it can make your gums feel rather itchy, and you may perceive that as your teeth feeling itchy, too.

Gum disease

Gum disease can make your teeth feel more sensitive, and that sensitivity might just include an itchy sensation.

Bacteria can sometimes lead to an inflammation of the gums known as gingivitis. If that’s not treated, it can progress to a more serious version known as periodontitis.

Gum disease can develop quietly without much fanfare, or you might see a little inflammation or bleeding from your gums. But it can lead to serious problems, including damage to your teeth and bones and even tooth loss.

Side effect of medical procedures

Did you recently get a filling for a cavity or undergo a root canal? Sometimes, after a dental procedure, your body perceives that your tooth or gum has been injured, even in a minor way. As it heals, the body’s reaction to trauma or injury is to feel itchy.

Tooth structural damage

The itchy sensation might be the result of an injury, such being hit in the mouth with a ball or during a car collision.

Whatever the cause of the injury or trauma, if the structure of your tooth sustains some damage, it may cause a sensation that you may perceive as an itch. That could include damage to the root, nerves, or pulp.

Teeth clenching or grinding

Some people may claim that their teeth itch because they clench or grind their teeth at night. While it’s entirely possible that some people do experience an itchy sensation, there’s not a lot of evidence to support the claim right now.

Other infections

Research suggests that pain and itching can sometimes accompany an infection caused by bacteria or viruses, as well as fungal and parasitic pathogens.

For example, the herpes zoster virus is known for causing pain, tingling and itching in nerves. This virus, which causes shingles, may cause some pain and tenderness in your face, near your teeth. This pain is called odontalgia.

Some of the same home remedies for managing itchy gums may help you with itchy teeth. For example, try sucking on ice cubes. This can dull the itchy sensation a bit. You can also try swishing some salt water around in your mouth.

Proper brushing and flossing techniques can go a long way toward maintaining the health of your mouth. It also helps to ward off infections and disease that might lead to itching or may lead to more serious damage.

Quitting smoking or vaping tobacco — both of which can irritate your mouth and gums — is another strategy. Quitting is often difficult, but a doctor can help create a plan that works for you.

Any time you develop a new symptom, it’s worth keeping track of them.

Have you noticed some pain and tenderness or bleeding in your gums or mouth, along with the itching? At that point, you should see a dentist. They’ll be able to determine if you have an infection that needs medical treatment, or if your tooth has sustained damage.

Other symptoms to watch out for include:

Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the itching.

Allergies

If the cause of the itchiness is something you ate, you should avoid that food. If it’s a seasonal allergy like allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, a doctor might suggest antihistamines. Short term use of a decongestant or nasal spray may also help.

Plaque build-up

It’s easy to let colorless, sticky plaque build up on your teeth and gums, and itchiness is a sign that it’s happening. A dentist will remove the plaque before it can harden into calculus and potentially lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Carefully brush your teeth twice a day and floss to sweep the plaque away.

Gum disease

If your dentist tells you that you’re developing the signs of early gum disease, you’ll need to brush and floss more often — and more carefully. A dentist might also recommend antibacterial mouthwash or gel.

Side effect of medical procedures

If you’ve developed an itch after a recent procedure, you may have to be patient while your mouth heals. Eventually, the itch should recede. If it doesn’t, tell your dentist so they can investigate whether there are other factors involved.

Tooth structural damage

If your tooth has been damaged, you may need more extensive dental work to fix the problem. Your dentist may decide you need a root canal or a dental crown.

Teeth clenching or grinding

If you suspect that you’re clenching or grinding your teeth, it’s worth seeing a dentist. There are a number of potential treatments, starting with a mouthguard that you wear at night.

Your dentist might also suggest a procedure that better aligns your bite called a reductive coronoplasty. They may also recommend botulinum toxin (Botox) injections, which some studies suggest may help by reducing your grinding activity and the pain it induces.

Other infections

If a dentist or doctor determines that you’ve developed an infection, antibiotics or an antifungal medication may help relieve pain, swelling, or itching that you’ve developed in your mouth or gums.

Even if you’ve never experienced itchy teeth in the past, it’s important to not dismiss the development of this kind of itch. It might be a fleeting phenomenon, but it could also be the sign of an infection or something else that you need to address.

Let a dentist know if you’ve developed an itchy tooth (or gums) and ask if you might need an examination. Once they diagnose the likely cause, you can discuss the best possible treatment.



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