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The link between migraines and oral bacteria

If you’re suffering from migraines, you might want to talk to your dentist about it. Migraines may be connected to certain oral bacteria, according to a 2016 study. This type of bacteria increases nitric oxide in the bloodstream, which can trigger a migraine.

Although your physician should be a priority when it comes to migraine treatment, there is an additional way to keep yourself strong and fight this pain: regular visits to the dentist.

Don’t skip your cleanings

Regular teeth cleanings not only make your mouth feel better, but they can also help prevent issues such as tooth loss and alert you to developing health issues such as diabetes and severe anxiety.

In addition, if you are having severe headaches but aren’t sure if they’re migraines, your dentist can first check for other causes, such as a misaligned jaw or TMJ. These issues can usually be treated by your general dentist.

Be careful what you eat

What you eat is just as important in preventing migraines as keeping your mouth clean. Not only does reducing the amount of refined sugar in your diet help your overall health, but it helps reduce the amount of sugar buildup in your mouth, which can lead to decay and bacteria.

Migraines are also known to be triggered by foods high in nitrates and nitrites, such as processed meats like hot dogs, ham and bacon, as well as alcohol and chocolate. Nitrates and nitrites are types of salt that are added to food for coloring and to prolong its shelf life.

Fresh fruits, cheese and fresh greens are less likely to trigger migraines, while drinking fluoridated water is a long-standing and proven aid for overall health, both for hydration and oral care.

Be sure to check with your physician first before making significant changes to your diet.

Stick with the basics: brushing and flossing

The easiest way to help keep harmful bacteria at bay is the old-fashioned way: brushing and flossing.

Try to use a toothbrush and toothpaste at work to brush after lunch, but if that’s not possible, chewing gum with xylitol works well, too. Although regular brushing and flossing won’t necessarily keep the migraines away, it will certainly help to prevent other problems with unwanted bacteria in your mouth.

Last updated February 10, 2022

The oral health information on this website is intended for educational purposes only. Always consult a licensed dentist or other qualified health care professional for any questions concerning your oral health.