How our teeth and our ears are connected

About ear pressure, earache, tinnitus & hearing loss

How dental treatments, teeth grinding & teething affect our hearing

Ears play a larger role than you may realize!

There are many connections between toothaches and ear issues, primarily due to the anatomy of the auditory system. Poor oral hygiene, simple pharyngitis, and the habit of grinding teeth during sleep (known as bruxism) can lead to issues with blood flow and inflammation in the inner ear, resulting in a decreased hearing ability.

How our hearing & dentition are connected

During the process of teething first and chewing later, we also involuntarily stress the auditory system. Sensory cells, located inside the cochlea, always need good vascularity to pick up the sound wave and transfer it to the brain. That is why even the extraction of wisdom teeth can sometimes lead to ear pain and ringing in the ears (tinnitus).

The following ear problems can be caused by our dentition

Trigeminal neuralgia and earaches are two often closely related phenomena. Read on to learn more.

Ear pain

There are numerous conditions that can cause discomfort in the ear, and equally numerous are the implications that link earaches to the teething or the chewing process. Gum swelling or localized pain often initiates an inflammatory process that radiates to the maxillary level until it reaches the ear, causing pain.

Pressure on the ears

The ear is more sensitive to changes in blood flow in the oral cavity than it may seem. During an inflammatory process, such as one affecting the wisdom teeth and causing temporary swelling of the gums, ear pressure is one of the resulting symptoms.


Tinnitus, commonly referred to as phantom noise, is the perception of sound that persists even without external stimuli. Its causes can range from persistent anxiety to issues related to chewing or tooth grinding. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which connects the jawbone to the cervical spine near the ear and is impacted by pressure from oral activity, plays a critical role.

Hearing loss

A gradual decline in hearing ability, ranging from mild to complete or partial hearing loss, are often caused by issues in the oral cavity. Tooth treatments, grinding, and teething are some examples of episodes that can lead to chronic inflammation of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and, as a result, the external and internal auditory system.
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How our teeth affects our hearing

The oral and auditory systems coexist in a mutual relationship of give and take. Read on and find out how.

Dental treatments (e.g. operations)

Any procedure performed in the oral cavity also affects the auditory system. From wisdom tooth extraction to teeth cleaning, bacterial contamination is a constant factor that can alter blood flow and impact the auditory system, particularly the hair cells in the inner ear.

Misaligned teeth (or malocclusion)

Dental malocclusion occurs as a result of morphological or functional disharmony between the upper and lower arch. This condition also adversely affects the auricular anatomical structures, impairing masticatory and phonetic functions that are manifested by headaches and tinnitus, a persistent ringing in the ear even in the absence of external acoustic stimuli.

Teeth grinding (bruxism)

Bruxism, or clenching and grinding of the teeth, is a common condition that has impacts on the ear. The pressure from the teeth affects the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is located near the external auditory canal, leading to pain. In such cases, it is best to reduce jaw overstimulation during the day by avoiding chewing gum and hard foods like nuts.

Tooth gaps

The positioning and arrangement of teeth in the oral cavity can result in ear pain and, in some instances, tinnitus, a persistent noise in the absence of external sounds. Excessive space between the teeth or misalignment of the arches creates a pressure imbalance that affects the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and impacts the nearby external auditory canal.

Missing or ill-fitting dentures

Identifying the source of the pain is crucial in determining the appropriate treatment. This also applies to dental procedures such as denture placement which can lead to imbalances in the auditory system. Ill-fitting dentures can result in symptoms such as tinnitus or progressive hearing loss.

Teething & baby teeth

Teething is a common stage experienced by children between the ages of 6 months to 2 1/2 years. This process can result in symptoms that also impact the ear, both internally and externally. There are two primary reasons for this: possible gum inflammation and swelling, which leads to disruption in blood flow, and continuous pressure from the teeth pressing on the gums. To help alleviate the ear pain caused by teeething, it is recommended to maintain a balanced diet and perform gum massages.

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