Headaches and Oral Care—Is There a Connection?

Modern Dental headache

A recent news article in Aesthetic Dentistry discusses a common affliction in most Americans. An average of 40 percent of Americans report having daily headaches.

While the general public has, in the past, traditionally brought up ailments with health care providers, it has recently become clear that dental providers should be playing a greater role in providing comprehensive pain relief.

Oooh, My Head!

Approximately 90 percent of the US population suffers from headaches, and a whopping 37 million Americans suffer from migraines, according to the National Headache Foundation. Many of us have suffered for years and have sought advice from a multitude of health care professionals and specialists, and have tried numerous medications in an effort to find relief.

A very slim number of people have thought to consult their dental providers for a better solution! Dentists have found that there may be an underlying cause for this common problem: dentomandibular sensorimotor dysfunction (DMSMD).

DMSMD is a condition involving the lower jaw and the upper three cervical vertebrae (the neck). It also affects the muscles and nerves in that centralized area.

The symptoms associated with DMSMD include

  • headaches and/or migraines
  • bruxism (which we covered in last week’s blog post)
  • tooth damage or fracture
  • malocclusion
  • pulpitis (inflammation of dental pulp tissue)
  • changes in brain chemistry and neurotransmitter balance

While DMSMD can affect both genders, it’s reported that women are more likely to suffer from it than men. DMSMD can also affect all ages.

Knowledge Is Power

If you are one of the 90 percent of Americans who suffer from headaches and migraines, it may be time to talk to your dental provider about testing and treatment options. Hopefully this post will shed some light on alternative reasons and causes for headaches.

~Dr. Wagner

 

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