Ear Pain When Chewing

ear pain when chewing or swallowing

Ear pain can be the reason for a long list of conditions, however if you experience ear pain when chewing food, it could indicate a swollen ear canal or might even be a symptom of a dental issue.

A bothersome, sharp ear pain can become an annoyance. If the pain happens while chewing food, it can discourage individuals from eating throughout the day.

Let’s take a further look at the causes and treatments to give you a more clear idea of this condition.

When Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) Causes Ear Pain During Chewing

Numerous grownups experience ear pain as a result of a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) lies near to the ear canal– it works as a hinge where the lower and upper jaws satisfy. This joint controls the chewing/biting movement when eating food.

Individuals with TMD often have at least one predisposing element (e.g. their molar teeth don’t fit together very well). When the teeth do not fit together, biting can cause stress on the jaw joint due to the unequal pressure being used to the joint spaces.

Dental practitioners don’t know exactly what causes TMD, however it could arise from issues with the jaw muscles, an injury to the jaw or joint, whiplash and even bruxism (grinding or clenching the teeth), arthritis, or stress.

Pain in the TMJ can likewise be caused by dental treatments, leading to ear pain when chewing. During a root canal or gum cleaning procedure for instance, the temporomandibular joint experiences constant stress since the mouth is held open for a long period of time. This can result in a range of symptoms, consisting of swelling and pain in or around the ear while chewing, biting, speaking, or opening your mouth wide.

More symptoms of TMD include:

  • The jaw getting stuck in an open or closed position
  • Clicking or popping sounds in the jaw when you open and close your mouth
  • Difficulty chewing or biting – it may feel that your teeth do not properly fit together
  • Facial swelling

Other Causes of Ear Pain When Chewing

  • Middle ear infections: The middle of the ear is a little area found near the eardrum. The ossicles are three bones discovered in the middle ear– they are among the smallest bones in the body. Ossicles send out waves from the eardrum to the inner ear. As a result, middle ear infections can result in pain while eating/chewing.
  • Jaw problems: If your jaw ends up being inflamed, it can be among the factors behind the pain in the ear when you are chewing. Most of the times, poor health or jaw injuries are responsible for the swelling in the jaw.
  • Ear canal infection: The ear canal is television that begins with the outer ear and ends at the eardrum. An infection that is triggered by bacteria, generally from scratching the ear frequently with the nails, can cause ear pain when eating.

How to Treat Pain in the Ear When Chewing

Painkillers, antibiotics, ear drops, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (i.e. ibuprofen) can all help in reducing pain in the ear while chewing, but there are a couple of natural things you can do to enhance discomfort as well– most specifically a modification in diet. Avoid consuming food products that require a lot of chewing. Choose soft foods, such as dairy items, tofu, fruits (e.g. ripe bananas), and well-cooked ground meat.

Considering that the most typical reason for ear pain in adults originates from TMD, here are a couple of procedures you can take to deal with flare-ups:

  • Use an ice bag to the side of your face that is in pain and leave it on for about 10 minutes. After you eliminate the ice bag, carry out a couple of easy jaw stretches. Later, hold a warm towel to the area for five minutes. Repeat a few times daily.
  • Keep yawning and gum-chewing to a minimum; don’t shout or sing and avoid anything that needs you to open your mouth large.
  • Prevent resting your chin on your hand.
  • Try not to hold your phone in between your shoulder and ear, as it puts unnecessary pressure on the jaw.
  • If you clinch or grind your teeth during the day, stick your tongue between them to avoid doing it. Utilize a mouth guard during the night to avoid uncontrolled teeth grinding.

Last Update - September 23, 2017


The Author

Reyus Mammadli

As a healthy lifestyle advisor I try to guide individuals in becoming more aware of living well and healthy through a series of proactive and preventive measures, disease prevention steps, recovery after illness or medical procedures. Education: Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.

2 Comments on Ear Pain When Chewing

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  1. Ear pain only when eating or when two part teeth upper and lower jaw touch or press. Normally no pain. dr says no problem in the ear. advice to dentist. Plz give helpful advice.

    1. I think you already got good advice. As I understood, doctor checked your ear and didn’t find in ear any reason of the pain. TMD, mentioned in the article, can cause the pain and a dentist – right person who can evaluate the issue. Follow up with doc’s advice and visit a dentist.

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