Why Do My Teeth Hurt When I Wake Up?

Why Do My Teeth Hurt When I Wake Up?

Why do my teeth hurt when I wake up? Why does my teeth feel weird when I wake up? How do I make it stop?! Sounds like you? Well, this blog’s for you! Over 40% of adults have reported toothache at least once a year and Americans spend over $124 billion on dental care costs every year. To say the least, waking up with toothache isn’t as uncommon as you might think.

That said, most toothache problems can be managed with simple home remedies for tooth pain troubles. Only in uncommon instances, you’ll have to head to your dentist for pain relief. But why exactly do your teeth hurt when you wake up? Let’s find out the 7 main reasons in this blog!

What causes tooth pain while sleeping?

1. Bruxism

Have you ever felt yourself clench your teeth or grit them randomly through the day? If yes, that might be the reason why you’re waking up with toothache in the morning. Bruxism is a medical term that refers to involuntary clenching of teeth. 

When you grind your teeth, you’re applying more pressure than they’re made to bear. This intense pressure can wear down the protective enamel that makes up the top layer of your teeth. It’s like a stress test for your teeth that they didn’t ask for! 

The tricky part is, you might not be aware that you’re doing it while you’re asleep. However, your dentist can spot signs of bruxism during a routine checkup. Bruxism can leave your teeth feeling sensitive and sore when you wake up. So, if you’re waking up with tooth pain, bruxism might be the culprit.

2. Improper Tooth Brushing

Improper tooth brushing is another reason why you might be waking up with tooth pain. Sometimes we think we’re doing our teeth a favor, but it turns out we might be a bit too aggressive with that toothbrush.

Brushing too hard or using a toothbrush with stiff bristles can be harsh on your teeth. Over time, this can lead to gum recession and enamel erosion, making your teeth more sensitive. The morning tooth pain might be a sign that you’re not giving your teeth the gentle care they deserve. 

So, when you’re brushing, go for a gentle approach. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and let it do the work without applying too much pressure. Remember, it’s not about strength but the right brushing technique for a pain-free morning routine.

how to brush your teeth

3. Sinus Infections

Do you suspect your morning toothache has something to do with your sinuses? Well then, you might be onto something. Sinus infections are a frequent cause of tooth pain, mainly due to the proximity of your sinuses to your upper back teeth.

Here’s the simple science behind it: Your sinuses, located just above your upper teeth, can accumulate fluids while you sleep. This leads to increased pressure that often targets the upper back teeth and causes pain.

If you’re experiencing tooth pain related to your sinuses, it’s not typically confined to a single tooth. Instead, it’s felt as a generalized ache around the upper back teeth. While sinus-related tooth pain is often temporary, persistent discomfort calls for attention. If the pain lingers, consider consulting your dentist to ensure no underlying dental issues are contributing to your symptoms.

4. Gum Disease

Gum diseases might also be playing a part in your dental drama. It’s more common than you probably think. 46% of adults aged 30 or older show signs of gum disease, and about 9% deal with the more severe form. 

Taking care of your gums is crucial because your oral health impacts your overall health. Periodontal disease (gum disease)  occurs when bacteria in plaque cause inflammation and infection in the gums. 

Over time, this swelling can make the structures that support your teeth, like your gums and bone, get weaker. As these structures deteriorate, your teeth may become more sensitive. That sensitivity is why your front teeth hurt when you wake up.

5. Acid Reflux

Acid from your stomach can sneak its way up to your mouth, especially when you’re lying down. So if you’ve been wondering  “Why do my teeth hurt in bed?”, acid reflux is probably the reason. This acid can be pretty harsh on your teeth because it erodes the enamel and causes toothaches.

Acid reflux doesn’t just stop at toothaches. It can also make your gums inflamed and cause bad breath, which is also known as halitosis. So, if you’re waking up with toothaches and a sour taste in your mouth, acid reflux might be the cause.

6. TMJ Disorders

Have you heard of TMD? It’s a mouthful: temporomandibular joint disorder. But to put it plainly, this condition affects your jaw joints and its surrounding muscles. These joints play an important role in connecting the lower jaw to the skull and are essential for chewing.

Now, when TMD shows up, it might decide to bother one or both of these jaw joints. Most people feel pain on one side of their face, especially when they’re opening or closing their mouth. It’s not just jaw pain; it can spill over into your dental health.

People dealing with TMD might notice things like tooth sensitivity, a higher chance of getting cavities, teeth feeling a bit wobbly, and even an increased risk of mouth infections. So, if you’re waking up with toothaches and jaw discomfort, TMD could be the reason.

It’s important to note that you can’t self-diagnose yourself with TMD or correct it by yourself so it’s best to find a good dentist for yourself and take professional advice. 

Why Do My Teeth Hurt When I Wake Up?

7. Sleep Apnea

Last but not least, sleep apnea can be a common culprit behind your morning tooth pain. In some cases, the answer to, “Why do my teeth hurt when I wake up?” can be as simple as the fact that you’re breathing through your mouth.

Sleep apnea occurs when your breathing repeatedly pauses as you sleep, making your mouth the main inhaler and causing it to become dry. That dryness can be tough on your oral health and will pave the way for toothaches and even tooth decay!

Tip: Loud snoring throughout the entire night can be a telltale sign that you have sleep apnea!


The pain in your front teeth could be due to cavities. Untreated tooth decay forms a hole, causing pain and sensitivity in your tooth. Incorrect tooth brushing techniques, sleep apnea, or acid reflux might also contribute to this targeted sensitivity. 

Your bottom teeth can hurt in the morning for many reasons and is a common problem among many people. Bruxism, sinus infections, gum diseases, hormones, or your sleeping position can contribute to toothache. In some cases, having an improper bite or misaligned teeth can also cause you to wake up from pain!

If you’re feeling your teeth misalign after you wake up, chances are they probably did. When you sleep at night, your teeth can subtly shift as your jaw and mouth muscles relax. Or, sometimes, it can be due to the pressure from teeth, like your wisdom teeth trying to come in.


Over 40% of adults experience some type of toothache at least once a year. So if you’ve been thinking, “Why do my teeth hurt when I wake up? How do I stop waking up with a toothache?”, we’ve compiled a list of reasons why you are waking up with toothache!

While you can try simple home remedies, we recommend going to the dentist if your toothache is persistent. Most of your toothache reasons can’t be self-diagnosed at home and that’s exactly why persistent toothache should be looked at by a certified dentist! At Premier Dental Group in Philadelphia, Deptford, and Abington, PA, you can walk in for a same-day emergency visit if your pain gets too tough to ride out on your own.