Pain on eating and drinking is a very common symptom associated with dental diseases. A sharp pain, however, on eating and drinking only a specific kind of food is much rarer. Recently, reports have emerged about pain in response to certain alcoholic beverages. Common sense would suggest that there is an ingredient in these drinks that is causing the pain.
One possible answer seems to be "sulfides", which are present in alcohol. The concentration of this substance in alcohol is much higher when the alcohol is of a poor grade. The repeated distillation processes that the more expensive alcohol goes through are effective in reducing the concentration of this compound.
The problem may also be associated with a certain brand of alcohol. An allergic reaction could also be one of the causes of pain and discomfort related to specific food substances, however, such instances are quite rare. Still, your doctor may order a test for potential allergens to see if something comes up.
The doctor will also look for more traditional routes and see if there is anything that might be causing pain and discomfort. Some of the potential causes could be:
The Temporomandibular joint or TMJ is responsible for the opening and closing of the mouth. It is composed a number of cartilages, capsules, muscles and nerves all working in harmony with each other.
This joint is quite weak in human beings and thus, can start to hurt quite easily. Certain conditions like bruxism or night grinding can cause the area around the joint to endure pain. This pain is referred quite frequently to the ear since the joint surfaces are very close to the ear anatomically. The doctor will look for worn away tooth surfaces and then may order a "night guard" to help protect your tooth surfaces. While theories about the origin of bruxism are plenty, there is still no consensus among the scientific community. Stress, however, is believed to play a large role in its etiology.
One disorder called the Frey syndrome could also be implicated in pain and discomfort after eating. The Auriculotemporal nerve, which passes through the parotid gland is injured in this condition and as a result, the affected person has pain, redness, and even pain in the lower jaw-earlobe region during chewing.
Impacted Wisdom Tooth
The cause of the pain in the region of the jaw and the ears could also lie with an erupting wisdom tooth. With evolution, our jaws have become smaller and can no longer accommodate all 32 teeth in the jaw (in most cases). This is why it is extremely common to find a wisdom tooth that cannot erupt or can only erupt partially.
Such a condition is perfect for food accumulation, poor hygiene and the growth of bacterial colonies. One the number of the colonies reaches sufficiently high, they start causing pain, discomfort, accumulation of pus in the region. The treatment is more often than not the extraction of the offending wisdom teeth.
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