Understanding Fibromyalgia Tooth Pain: Symptoms & Management Strategies

Ever wondered why, alongside the aches and tenderness fibromyalgia brings, your teeth also throb in protest? In this article, we explore how fibromyalgia can contribute to tooth pain, how to navigate your upcoming dental appointment, and at-home strategies to manage your oral health and minimize any tooth pain.

How does fibromyalgia cause tooth pain?

For those with fibromyalgia, their bodies handle feelings of touch in a stronger way, which can make the pain in their teeth feel much worse. Think about being at the dentist for normal cleaning or getting a cavity filled, and every little touch seems a lot bigger than it is. Or perhaps just brushing your teeth causes a lot of pain.

This symptom can make simple dental care really challenging for people with fibromyalgia. Often, they might avoid going to the dentist because it's so uncomfortable, which can unfortunately lead to bigger problems with their teeth and gums down the road.

What are the characteristics of fibromyalgia pain?

Fibromyalgia syndrome encompasses more than just pain. It is accompanied by several additional complications including:

This condition is believed to be caused by a phenomenon called central sensitization, where the nervous system goes into a sort of overdrive, amplifying normal signals in a way that can be painful and distressing.

What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia tooth pain?

Toothaches in those with fibromyalgia aren't always due to typical dental issues such as cavities or gum disease. Instead, fibromyalgia can cause orofacial pain that is unrelated to these common dental problems1. Recognizing the difference between tooth pain that is a direct result of fibromyalgia and pain stemming from actual dental conditions is crucial because it allows for the development of an effective treatment plan based on an accurate diagnosis. If in doubt, a visit to your dentist is always the best option.

How to deal with oral challenges with fibromyalgia

Individuals with fibromyalgia often find themselves dealing with symptoms that affect their mouth, such as difficulty swallowing and a constant feeling of dryness. This dryness isn't just uncomfortable – it can lead to more cavities and even tooth loss because saliva, which protects our teeth, isn't there in enough quantity. The widespread pain that comes with fibromyalgia can also make routines like brushing and flossing can be quite challenging, making it harder to keep up with dental care.

Dry mouth

Fibromyalgia is linked to reduced salivary secretions leading to dry mouth2. There are some strategies to manage dry mouth symptoms.

  • Hydration is key: Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is crucial for managing dry mouth.
  • Seek relief: Consider products that replace or stimulate saliva production for additional comfort. These can be readily available from your doctor or dentist.
  • Limit irritants: Avoid alcohol and caffeine, as they can worsen dry mouth symptoms.

Teeth grinding

Bruxism, or teeth grinding, often affects those with fibromyalgia, as you may grind your teeth unknowingly in response to widespread pain or while you sleep3. This habit can erode tooth enamel and hasten tooth decay. Yet, there is no need for alarm. Dentists commonly advise wearing protective mouthguards to safeguard against this damage.

Temporomandibular joint disorders

Studies indicate that 42-49% of fibromyalgia patients also experience TMJ disorder4. The good news is that non-pharmacological approaches such as soft tissue massage can help ease these symptoms. Additionally, the use of a "bite block" during dental procedures can provide relief by reducing jaw strain.

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How to prepare for a dental appointment when you have fibromyalgia?

The heightened pain perception associated with fibromyalgia can make dental treatments particularly challenging. To ease both physical and emotional stress before a dental check-up, adopt calming strategies.

Arriving early at the dental office can help diminish the rush and lower anxiety, and you can use the extra time for a meditation or mindfulness practice. It is also advisable to brush your teeth gently before the appointment to prevent gum irritation or dental pain. Furthermore, wearing comfortable clothing to your dental visit can reduce any additional physical discomfort.

Communicate with your dentist

Open communication is crucial when preparing for a dental visit, especially if you have fibromyalgia. It is important to inform the dental team about your condition and any related sensitivities in advance. This allows for customized care and adjustments to enhance your comfort during treatment.

As with other healthcare professionals, you want to feel comfortable and supported by your dentist. If you feel like you are not receiving the care that you need, or your concerns are not taken seriously, seek a new dentist.

Self-care before & after treatment

Applying a warm, moist heat pack to the jaw joint following a procedure can assist in decreasing inflammation and easing discomfort within the jaw muscles, which may help lessen pain in the jaw. Following treatment, eating soft foods and avoiding food or drinks that are very hot or very cold can also reduce feelings of discomfort.

How to manage discomfort during dental treatment

As fibromyalgia is a chronic condition with no cure, dental care must be tailored to manage the persistent symptoms associated with the disorder. It is often advisable to opt for minimally invasive or non-invasive dental treatments to minimize pain and discomfort.

To improve comfort during dental procedures, various sedation options are available. These include nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, IV sedation, and sometimes general anesthesia.

The choice of sedation technique depends on several factors:

  • the severity of your fibromyalgia symptoms
  • the type of dental procedure you are undergoing
  • your level of anxiety
  • your medical history and current medications.

Relieving fibromyalgia-related tooth pain

A deeper understanding of fibromyalgia-associated dental pain and the related myofascial pain goes beyond just treating symptoms. It involves an appreciation of the extensive impact that chronic pain has on a person's life. To manage tooth pain that arises from fibromyalgia, it's essential to adopt a holistic approach that merges education, therapeutic measures, and lifestyle changes. This comprehensive strategy should include:

  • physical therapy interventions
  • supportive psychological measures
  • behavior change techniques
  • pharmaceutical treatments.

Preventative dental care practices

Taking proper care of your teeth and gums is essential. Regular brushing and flossing can prevent tooth pain from worsening. Consider using a special toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth, which may be beneficial. It is also important to visit your dentist regularly. They can detect issues early and help maintain your oral health.


Adjusting your diet to include foods with anti-inflammatory properties can also play a role in reducing symptoms associated with fibromyalgia and dental discomfort5. Foods that are known for their anti-inflammatory benefits include:

  • fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines, which are rich in omega-3s
  • leafy greens like spinach and kale are packed with essential nutrients
  • berries, including blueberries and strawberries, which are high in antioxidants
  • nuts and seeds, especially almonds and flaxseeds that offer healthy fats
  • turmeric, a spice known for its strong anti-inflammatory properties6.

Focus on hydration

Maintaining proper hydration is crucial for alleviating oral symptoms in individuals with fibromyalgia. Increasing your water intake can help mitigate the dry mouth commonly experienced by fibromyalgia patients. Additionally, sucking on ice chips or using a humidifier at night may offer further relief from dry mouth symptoms.

Retraining your pain

To grasp the concept of managing pain, it's important to understand that pain isn't just a simple feeling. It's actually quite complex, involving your thoughts, emotions, and everything happening around you.

It starts with figuring out what makes your pain worse. This could be stress, certain ways of thinking, or activities you do. Once you know these triggers, you can start to change them. You might need to eat differently, sleep better, move more, or learn new ways to think about pain. As you keep at it, your brain learns to deal with pain differently, which can make it less intense and less of a problem in your daily life.

Managing stress

While stress is an inevitable part of life, mastering its management can profoundly improve your everyday experiences. Properly managing stress can help prevent your body from interpreting normal sensations as pain.

There's a plethora of strategies available to combat stress. Techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness can aid in cultivating healthier thinking patterns, staying grounded in the present, and reaching a relaxed state. Additionally, participating in discussions with peers, seeking professional counseling, or becoming part of a support group can offer valuable exchange of knowledge and bolster your morale.

Physical activity

Beginning an exercise program might seem tough, but the benefits in managing pain are well worth it. Regular physical activity can lift your spirits, boost your energy, and make your sleep better. It's about finding activities you enjoy that are also good for your fitness level, like yoga, light dancing, or gardening.

Adding gentle stretches and low-impact exercises such as walking can ease tight muscles and might help lessen pain, which is good for your overall health.

Remember to be kind to yourself during this journey. Moving forward at a pace that doesn't push your body too hard is key. This way, you can become more active without making your pain worse or causing an injury.

Sleep quality

Proper sleep is a cornerstone of managing fibromyalgia pain. Think of it as a powerful tool your body uses to combat discomfort. Yet many individuals with fibromyalgia struggle to achieve the restorative sleep necessary for their bodies to repair and rejuvenate.

To enhance your sleep quality, which in turn can improve your overall wellbeing, consider adopting these practices:

  • Strive for approximately 8 hours of sleep each night, and maintain a consistent sleep schedule.
  • If you take naps, limit their length. Brief naps can revive you without disrupting your nighttime sleep.
  • Engage in daily physical activity. This can lead to quicker and more restful sleep at night.
  • Disconnect from electronic devices before bedtime. They can interfere with your brain's ability to relax.
  • Create an environment conducive to sleep in your bedroom. It should be dark and quiet to prevent disturbances.
  • Monitor your caffeine intake, especially in the latter part of the day. Caffeine can linger in your system and affect your sleep.
  • Avoid large meals and alcohol close to bedtime, as they can negatively impact your sleep.
  • Additionally, engage in relaxation techniques. These practices can contribute to improved sleep habits and better symptom management.

More information

At MoreGoodDays®, our team has designed a plan with your needs in mind, especially understanding the challenges that come with fibromyalgia. Recognizing the effects this condition has on your daily life, we have created resources and strategies that are clear and useful. Our objective is to share knowledge about fibromyalgia with you and offer tools to help you cope with the pain and exhaustion it can bring.

Our commitment is to guide you towards a healthier, more enjoyable life as you live with fibromyalgia.

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