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More on the Heart-Jaw Connection

Posted Sep 03 2010 7:02am

Last month, we told you about how jaw pain can be a symptom of heart problems and shared some info on telling the difference between the two.

Interestingly enough, a new study on heart-related jaw pain was published soon after in the Journal of Dental Research.

For the study, researchers looked at the quality, intensity and gender characteristics of craniofacial pain (pain in the head [cranio] and facial structures) to see if there were differences that could distinguish between local and referred pain – that is, pain related to the head, face and jaw or pain related to heart conditions.

No gender differences were found, but there were differences in the kind of pain involved:

  • Pain described as “throbbing” or “aching” tended to be local.
  • Pain described as “pressure” and “burning” tended to be related to heart problems.

These data should now be added to those craniofacial pain characteristics already known to point to acute cardiac disease rather than dental pathology, i.e., pain provocation/aggravation by physical activity, pain relief at rest, and bilateralism.

Of course, if you have those or any of the other classic cardiovascular, symptoms, contact your doctor at once. Otherwise, and again, it may be something you should contact your dentist about instead.

 


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