If you suddenly suffer from a toothache, you can hardly imagine life without it. Everyday life offers opportunities for distraction, but everyone comes to rest.

If you lie down, many people feel the pain is stronger and more intense.

Is this just a wrong perception or does the pain stimulus really increase when lying down?

Read more on the topic: Toothache

The pain when lying down

When you think about a toothache while lying down, the question that often arises is why it should get worse? But if you ask around and ask patients, many complain that the pain feels worse in a lying position.

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In fact, you are usually in a warmer environment, especially during bed rest. Heat has a positive effect on the spread of bacteria. This is also the reason why cooling with a cold pack is recommended for toothache so that the inflammation is contained. This also counteracts swelling. Another factor that makes the pain appear stronger when lying down is that you relax while lying down and factors such as stress that suppress the pain are eliminated. One becomes more aware of the pain now.

The main cause of the increased toothache sensation is that the body is usually in a horizontal position for long periods of time when lying down. While standing upright, most of the blood is in the lower part of the body due to gravity, in the legs and thighs. But as soon as you switch to the horizontal position, the blood is distributed more intensely in the upper parts of the body - the head is supplied with more blood.

The stronger blood circulation promotes the inflammatory process. Inflammation mediators are increased and increased, which leads to greater pain perception. This can also be seen during the day during intense physical exertion, which also leads to increased blood circulation. As a result, it is better to keep your head slightly elevated. If you also cool the painful area, the toothache becomes more bearable while lying down.

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Why is it that the toothache only occurs when you are lying down?

It is entirely possible that the pain will not appear until the patient comes to rest and is not distracted by everyday events. Furthermore, the pain can only occur when lying down, when more blood reaches the head and the blood pressure rises as a result. The region around the teeth is better supplied with blood and is warmer, which promotes or even intensifies inflammatory pain.

In addition, the comforter provides extra warmth that can make this symptom even worse. Therefore, pain that only occurs when lying down is often caused by an inflammatory change that is barely noticeable in the vertical during the day. If the toothache persists, a dentist must be consulted for evaluation and therapy.

Also read the article on the topic: Toothache at night- you should be aware of this

Why does the toothache get worse when lying down?

One reason that pain when lying down worsens is because the inflammation spreads and infiltrates more areas. The point of inflammation becomes larger and the germs load more nerve fibers with a stimulus. The affected person perceives this increased potential for irritation as greater pain.

What can you do about a toothache while lying down?

Since the warmth and better blood circulation promote inflammation when lying down, cooling is a method to relieve pain. It should be cooled for about five to ten minutes at a time, after which it should be paused for about half an hour. If the body is kept cool for longer, hypothermia is signaled and it reacts with increased blood flow, which is counterproductive for the inflammation. If the pain persists, pain medication can relieve the symptoms first.

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Read more on the topic: Toothache - What To Do?

Ibuprofen or paracetamol should be used. Pain medication containing acetylsalicylic acid should be avoided as they thin the blood. Because if the blood is too thin, complications can arise during dental surgery. Therefore, other pain relievers should be used from the outset. If the pain persists and is no longer bearable, the treating dentist or an emergency service must be consulted.

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Causes of toothache in general

Toothache is most commonly triggered when the tooth is affected by tooth decay and the bacteria progressively progress through the tooth over time. Poor oral hygiene gives rise to bacteria that form lactic acid and thus attack the hard tooth structure. There are small, fine nerve branches in the tooth, which then transmit the pain.

Toothache can also be triggered by erupting wisdom teeth or by an incorrect prosthetic restoration that was not properly ground in or on which secondary caries (caries under an integrated crown) has developed. Sometimes the gums may have receded a little so that the necks of the teeth are exposed, which are very sensitive to heat and cold and thus lead to a sharp pain with just a small touch.

If the inflammation is deeper, the root of the tooth or the surrounding tissue, such as the gums, tooth bones or tooth-anchoring fibers, can also be affected. What all toothaches have in common is the caries-related cause and the associated inflammation, which is usually difficult or not noticeable at all at the beginning, but the warning signs steadily increase over time.

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Read more on the topic: Causes of Toothache

Concomitant symptoms

Toothache, which is only noticeable when lying down, is so uncomfortable precisely because of its accompanying symptoms. The pain usually occurs when the person concerned wants to rest and prevents them from falling asleep. Furthermore, the area around the painful tooth feels heated and pulsates. The toothache radiates to other areas of the face and head, so that symptoms of the sinuses, the ears, the neck and also headaches can arise.

Turning to the affected side is unthinkable as the soft tissues are compressed and press on the tooth. Other side effects can be circulatory problems, so that dizziness occurs if the person concerned tries to sit up or stand up. Nausea can also occur. Another accompanying symptom can also be a mouth opening disorder, so that the mere effort causes severe pain. Breathing through the mouth can also be uncomfortable when lying down, provided that the cold air causes more discomfort in the affected region, so that the person concerned automatically breathes through the nose to avoid the pain.

Behavior in case of toothache

Pain is a general warning signal from the body that something is wrong with it and needs treatment. Toothache can be temporary in nature, but if it occurs intermittently or for a long time, a visit to the dentist is strongly recommended.

Various pain relievers can be purchased in pharmacies for short-term treatment. Ibuprofen, paracetamol or aspirin are the best-known representatives of this type. With them, care must be taken not to take them for a longer period of time and not to exceed the maximum daily dose. Pregnant women should rather rely on paracetamol and discuss taking painkillers with a doctor.

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Alternative pain relievers, such as home remedies, can be used as support. Cooling the affected area from the outside, rinsing it with chamomile or sage tea, or chewing on a clove are among the most popular methods. These can work differently depending on the patient. However, both painkillers and home remedies are only to be taken temporarily or as part of a treatment, as they only suppress the symptoms, but do not treat the cause.

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Read more on the topic: Home remedies for toothache


Toothache is very unpleasant, but it usually increases when you are lying down. The increased warmth, of the resting body and the increased blood flow are responsible for it. So the increased pain is not just an imagination. A higher lying position, Painkiller or Home remedies etc. make the pain more bearable. However, to get rid of them completely, a visit to the dentist is recommended, who can get to the bottom of the cause.

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