tooth hurts when i run

If you feel a pulsating pain in your tooth while running – this is most likely due to the additional increase in blood flow – since you are doing a cardiovascular exercise. However, this is not the underlying problem, but rather the trigger for something that already exists. So, let’s dive a bit deeper into the topic.

For many people who want to get into better physical shape, a favorite activity is running. It is also excellent for cardiovascular health. However, for some, running causes pain. Among the possible pains, although rarely talked about, is a pain in the teeth.

If you have experienced this, we have gathered some information on what could cause the pain in your tooth or teeth. This may help you in seeking appropriate remedies to reduce it.

Existing Dental Issues

Pain in your teeth when you run could be an indication of underlying dental issues such as an infection.  When you are working out, whatever the form of activity, it increases your blood pressure. The increase in blood flow is likely to worsen an existing dental issue such as an infection.

An existing dental cavity can become painful because of the exposure of air inhaled and exhaled as you breathe. This can be extremely painful if you are running when it’s very cold outside. You will be pulling in the cold air and passing it through your tooth cavity. This has the effect of stimulating the nerves and thus the pain.

Tooth Sensitivity

As you run, inhaling or exhaled hot or cold air may hit weak enamel spots causing you to experience sharp pain. This can be relieved by using toothpaste specially made for sensitive teeth.

Teeth Gritting And Grinding

When you are exercising or exerting yourself, you may unconsciously grit your teeth. Gritting teeth hard may cause pain not just in your teeth but also in the gums, jawbone, and jaw joints. While running, there is a likelihood of holding your teeth slightly apart. As your feet hit the ground when running, with each impact, the teeth may come down forcefully together. This can cause you to feel pain in both the gums and the teeth.

As you run down a steep incline, you hunker down. Similarly, you push yourself harder to run up that steep hill or when you want to run a little faster. In all these situations, you will clench your teeth and that can also contribute to the tooth pain felt while running.

Sinus Infection

One surprising cause of tooth pain is a sinus infection. Because of the resultant build-up of mucus and the inflamed sinuses, you get referred pain. This means, that you feel the pain in another part of your body. Hence, sinus inflammation may cause the pain you feel in tooth or jaw as you run. Additionally, an ear infection can trigger a similar pain phenomenon.

Poor Body Posture

If after visiting the dentist none of the above issues seem to be at the root of the pain in your teeth, perhaps you need to look at the alignment of your body when running. For example, if your body has an injury on one side, you may unconsciously try to compensate that by relying on the other side more. Such a slight change in the posture of your body can show up as pain elsewhere like in your teeth.


For sure, running can cause pain in your teeth. The good part is that most of the causes can be easily addressed as they are largely minor. However, it’s important to consult your dentist if the pain is consistent when you run. Getting timely professional advice and treatment can prevent a minor irritation from becoming a major dental problem later.

Author: Peter Mayhew

Peter is a dental hygienist in the city of Chicago, IL. In his free time he likes to write blogs and product reviews on anything dental health related.