3 Ways Dental Problems Can Lead To Muscle Pain

If you have ever experienced problems with your teeth or gums, you may have experienced a toothache, swollen or bleeding gums, or tooth sensitivity to hot or cold drinks. What you might not realize is that dental problems can sometimes indirectly lead to muscle pain. Here are three ways your teeth and gum problems might be contributing to your muscle pain and what you can do about them:

Systemic Inflammation

If you have gingivitis, or gum disease, chances are you have a low grade infection and inflammation in your mouth. Infections, especially long-standing infections, can trigger the release of chemicals known as pro-inflammatory cytokines. When these chemicals are released into your bloodstream, it can trigger a systemic inflammatory response.

When this happens, you may develop muscle aches and pains, as well as headaches, joint pain, and a suppressed immune system. If you have gum disease, see your dentist on a regular basis and maintain a meticulous schedule of brushing and flossing.

If you develop muscle pain as a result of an infection-related systemic inflammation, your dentist may recommend that you take a course of oral antibiotics to eliminate the microorganism responsible for the bacterial infection. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help diminish associated muscle pain, as can participating in a physical therapy program if you have chronic infection-related pain. 

Infectious Process

An acute dental abscess can lead to the development of a purulent infection. Purulent refers to the formation of pus, which often appears around the abscessed tooth and surrounding gum tissue. When this occurs, an infection can spread beyond your oral cavity to your entire body.

If you have a body-wide infection, your muscles and bones will hurt, and until you get treatment for your dental abscess, they will probably continue to do so. Depending upon the severity of your abscessed tooth, your dentist will either prescribe antibiotics or recommend that you have your tooth extracted, or both. 


If your teeth are crooked or misaligned, it may cause a malocclusion. A malocclusion refers to when your teeth are not in proper alignment. This can cause significant pain in your jaw that can radiate to your head, neck, and shoulders.

Treatment for a malocclusion sometimes includes braces or even oral surgery. If your dentist determines that your malocclusion needs surgery in order to eliminate your symptoms, you will be referred to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon who will perform the procedure. After your alignment deficit has been corrected, your associated muscle pain will resolve as well.

If you have dental or gum problems and develop muscle pain, work with your dentist, physician, and physical therapy professional to develop an effective treatment plan that will not only treat your oral problems, but your muscle pain as well.