‘Tis the Season for Colds

If you have a toothache, don’t automatically assume there’s a dentist’s drill in your future. The pain you feel might be an inflammation of your sinus lining or a symptom of sinusitis.1 It’s pretty common during cold and flu season, so be aware of the symptoms.

Sinuses are air chambers behind your cheeks, eyebrows, and jaw bones.2 They contain tiny hairs called cilia which help clean out mucus and keep these air chambers free of debris. When you get a cold or the flu, the chambers get blocked with excess mucus3 and bacteria begin to spread, often resulting in illness. Since one of the air chambers is above and behind the upper jaw, what seems like a serious toothache is in fact just sinus pain.4

Increased sensitivity in all sinus areas is common, so if you suspect you have flu symptoms – including a toothache, face pain or pressure in your sinus areas, weakness and fatigue, or a reduced sense of smell – contact your doctor.1 You may be able to use a nasal saline spray or over-the-counter drug, such as a decongestant, to clear your sinuses.1 Also, stop the spread of germs by washing your hands regularly and using tissues to sneeze. A cold is one gift you definitely don’t want to give – or receive – this holiday season.


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