6 Steps to Smile More | What to Do If Your Teeth Are Hurting

The staff at Meza Dental Care Costa Rica

Here at Meza Dental, we know there are quite a few activities people prefer over visiting the dentist. Especially if you’ve had a bad experience in the past. 

Still, dental health is important, and more related to other aspects of your health than you might think! 

That’s why we’ve put together this article. First, we’ll review some simple ways to improve your dental health and prevent issues from developing. Then, we’ll talk about what you can do if you’re experiencing acute pain from a specific issue like a cavity or a damaged tooth. 

Let’s start with the basics!

1- Proper Oral Care


You’ve heard this before, but it holds. A tooth is covered in a protective enamel, and that enamel is its first line of defense. If we care for it properly, we can greatly extend the life of our natural teeth, and we can prevent the expense and stress of making trips to the dentist.

Our teeth should be brushed for a minimum of two minutes each time, paying special attention to the area along the gumline where tartar tends to grow. Some dentists teach that a circular motion is best, and others feel you should start at the top of the tooth (or the bottom if it’s the lower teeth) and brush from the gum line to the tip of your tooth.

Regardless of the method you use, it is important to purposely clean each surface of the tooth, outside, inside, and along the chewing surface where food can get lodged in the grooves. Teeth should be brushed after each meal whenever possible, and when that’s not possible, morning and night.

In terms of relieving mouth pain, a good brushing can be the first step to dislodge particles that might be wedged between your teeth or up against your gums, causing discomfort.


This is another well-known/common sense way of maintaining good dental health, but it’s the one many people choose to skip.

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, the act of flossing more often will solve part of that problem. Trying to wedge the floss into a tight area often creates irritation or even bleeding of the gums. For some of us, flossing can seem painful, but this is only if you floss infrequently, as that pain is a sign of inflammation in your gums. When you do include flossing as part of your normal routine, you become more adept, your gums become less sensitive and less likely to bleed, and there is less of a buildup in tartar. All good things!

If you still experience pain or excessive bleeding after starting to floss more regularly, it’s a good idea to book a trip to your dentist and ask them to take a look. Plaque buildup along your gums can allow bacteria to grow, and can eventually lead to gingivitis (bad breath) or periodontitis (gum disease). 

Flossing helps with several issues, especially receding gums, which can leave roots and nerve endings partially exposed, leading to discomfort and sensitivity to hot and cold foods. 

Also, if you’re experiencing some mouth pain after a meal, flossing is a good way to get rid of seeds, stringy bits, and other food particles that can be annoying and/or painful.

Using the Right Toothbrush and Toothpaste

There are hundreds of toothbrushes on the market. So how do you know which one is best?

Colgate.com recommends a small-headed, soft-bristled brush because it can more easily get into those hard-to-reach areas. Choosing a toothpaste can be a little more complex, because there are many different formulas available, and your choice should take into account your individual needs. Here is a link that might help.

2. Proper Diet

You might be thinking “This is when they tell me never to eat my favorite treat again,” and sugar from sweet treats can indeed affect your enamel. 

But that’s not the only thing that can. You might be surprised to learn that some of the healthiest foods can affect your teeth, namely, those with high acid content. Here are a few foods to be aware of:

  • pineapple,
  • oranges,
  • sugar (of course),
  • tomatoes, 
  • cottage cheese, 
  • Sweet treats,
  • maple syrup,
  • yogurt, 
  • raisins, 
  • Pickles,
  • and honey

That doesn’t mean you can never eat these foods again, but if you suffer from weak or damaged enamel, it’s a good idea to brush your teeth after you enjoy them.

The good news is that the opposite is true. According to the ADA, some foods will help protect your teeth. Mainly foods that contain calcium or phosphorus. These items include:

  • milk and dairy products like cheese
  • almonds,
  • leafy greens,
  • eggs,
  • fish,
  • and healthy meats.

Still a great idea to brush afterward though!

The bottom line here is that what goes into your body affects your body’s health. It is the fuel that your body uses to provide not only your body’s energy but the regeneration of cells like hair, nail, and tooth enamel. It’s helpful to be mindful!

3- Good Overall Health

Though it might seem strange, some health problems that at a glance seem completely unrelated to your teeth can also damage your oral health. 

In some cases, it’s the medication that causes damage, while for others your body is unable to process nutrients as well as it should, resulting in the loss of enamel or bone density, or tooth discoloration. 

In many cases, the long-term result is an inability to maintain your natural teeth (especially if these conditions are chronic), and the teeth are extracted in favor of implants or full-mouth restoration. It’s always better to keep your teeth whenever possible, but if these issues are the cause of chronic pain or loose teeth, procedures like the ones above give these patients a long-term, pain-free alternative. 

Here are some of the conditions that can affect oral health, (click here to read the full article):

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Organ transplants
  • Kidney disease
  • head/neck cancer radiation
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Pregnancy
  • Parkinson’s
  • Lupus
  • ALS/ Lou Gehrig’s Disease
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Opioid use/addiction

If you suffer from one of these conditions, it may be a key factor in any problems you have been experiencing.

4- Reduce Your Stress

As we learn more about the interconnectivity of our bodies, we also learn the many ways that stress can negatively act on our bodies both physically and mentally.

Per the Mayo Clinic, stress has a number of both physical and mental side effects that are worth noting. 

Physical Effects of Stress

  • Headache
  • Muscle pain/tension
  • Chest pain/shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Weakened immune system
  • Stomach upset 
  • and sleep problems

Mental Effects of Stress

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty maintaining focus/motivation
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • sadness/depression
  • irritability/anger
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • And the grinding/clenching of teeth

We recommend a visit to the related Healthline article, there is an amazing graphic to help us understand all of the ways stress can affect us.

Finding ways to reduce your stress levels through a better diet, more sleep, exercise, and other lifestyle factors will reduce these types of symptoms, including the symptoms in bold that directly affect the health of your teeth.

However, in some cases, lifestyle solutions are just the start of treatment and need to be supplemented with more acute medical care.

5- Identify Any Acute Problems

In some cases, you can handle dental challenges entirely through lifestyle changes, like adjusting your diet to prevent painful cavities or flossing more regularly to keep your gums healthy. 

But if you’ve made some of these changes already, or if you have damage to your teeth that need repair, or your dental challenges have become painful, inconvenient, or debilitating, it may be time to start considering the help of your dentist. 

 A good first step in dental care is to identify which areas of your teeth, gums, and mouth are damaged, functioning poorly, or are in pain. 

Taking the time to do a little assessment and identify any specific problems before you visit the dentist can go a long way to making your trip to the dentist’s chair easy, informative, and painless!

6- Work With Your Dentist

From there you can work with your local dentist to identify what dental care will get you back smiling again…

If it’s a small problem, like a cavity, you can likely get it done in a simple trip to your local dentist.

However, for more major dental services like the need to extract and replace badly damaged teeth, many people explore other options.

Dental care in the US is expensive, and more and more people are starting to discover they can find the same quality of service in other countries. 

That was the origin of dental tourism, and we created Meza Dental almost two decades ago to help people who were dealing with exactly this issue.

We are proud to have an amazing crew of knowledgeable, skilled, and friendly dentists, dental assistants, and lab technicians, to provide a variety of procedures, and two beautiful destinations to choose from.

If you want to learn more, just click the link. Check out our website where you will find lots of helpful information, or call us directly toll-free from Canada or the US at 1-877-337-6392. Our staff is always happy to answer any questions you may have. 

So What’s The Final Word?

Well, let’s review. If you’re experiencing tooth pain, a first response can be to tackle lifestyle issues like adding regular oral care to your daily routine and including enamel-boosting foods in your diet.

Then, if you’re still having tooth pain, or if your pain is more acute, you can identify challenges and work with your dentist to restore your teeth to their best health.

Once that’s taken care of, if you need larger processes, or if you’re interested in improving the look of your smile, it might be time to consider searching for a dental provider who suits your needs. 

And the Meza Dental team is here if you need us!

No one should have to live with pain, whatever the cause, which is why we’re here to answer all of your questions and provide you with beautiful, long-lasting solutions. Solutions that will leave you with a natural-looking, healthy smile for years to come.

We can’t all manage to keep our teeth for a whole lifetime, but we can all have a smile that is pain-free, functional, and gorgeous. And, thanks to the opportunities of dental tourism, procedures that can cost as much as your child’s university tuition are available at up to 50% less here. 

We have offices in Cancún and Costa Rica built to serve your dental needs surrounded by the world’s most beautiful destinations, and professional, talented, English-speaking staff to restore your smile. We can even help you with your travel arrangements and provide advice and adventures so you can return home flashing that lovely new smile and a tan!

If you’d like to learn more about dental tourism or dental options, simply click here for our website. You’ll find lots of useful information, as well as a link to a simple survey that will help our staff guide you to the best possible procedure for your needs. The consultation is free, and there’s no obligation.

You can also call us toll-free from Canada or the US at 1-877-337-6392. 

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