Can a Toothache Cause a Sore Throat on One Side? (9 Reasons Why)

This blog post will address the topic,”toothache and sore throat on one side” and cover topics like can molars cause sore throat on one side, what is a toothache, why does it occur and what are its symptoms and everything about a sore throat including signs and symptoms of sore throat, causes of sore throat, diagnosis, home remedies and when to call a doctor.

Can a Toothache cause a Sore Throat On One Side?

Toothache may cause a sore throat on one side, usually the side on which the toothache is present. 

The exact cause for this is not known but it may be due to infection spreading to the throat and irritating the tonsils on one side.

Sore throat is actually a secondary symptom of a toothache and may not directly occur due to it.

Sore throat on one side may occur due to multiple reasons such as tooth infection, nasal mucus entering the throat during a viral or bacterial infection and mouth sores.

Can Molars Cause Sore Throat On One Side?

Yes, infected or impacted molars may cause a sore throat on the side where it is located. Molars are the posteriormost teeth in the oral cavity, nearest to the throat and therefore any infection in the molars spreads to the surrounding areas causing a painful sore throat.

Wisdom teeth that are partially erupted or have not fully erupted in the oral cavity, may harbour a lot of infection-causing bacteria, resulting in tooth infection that spreads to other parts of the body to cause fever, tonsillitis and sore throat on one side, usually where the wisdom tooth is located.

What is a Toothache, Why Does It Occur And What Are Its Symptoms?

What Is A Toothache?

Toothache is the ache or pain in a tooth or several teeth, which may or may not involve the surrounding structures.

Toothache is not always due to tooth cavities or decay. It can also be a result of many systemic diseases involving the heart and gastrointestinal tract.

Toothache arising from tooth decay or any infection of the pulp, is known as Odontogenic Toothache whereas those having a systemic cause are called Non-Odontogenic Toothache.

Causes Of Toothache: Why Does It Occur?

Cavity development on the tooth is the most common cause of toothache. Let us understand how a cavity forms.

Cavity: How Does It Develop?

Consumption of sugary and starch rich foods expose the tooth to acids frequently, resulting in mineral loss from the enamel.

Infrequent tooth brushing habits cause poor oral hygiene, resulting in plaque accumulation.

Plaque is a sticky film containing bacteria that coats the protective enamel of your teeth. These bacteria produce acids by breaking down the food debris and the acids penetrate the enamel leading to formation of white spots on the teeth.

Appearance of white spot is an indication of the start of tooth cavity formation and can be reversed at this point.

Ignoring it and continuing with the poor oral hygiene can cause more frequent acid attacks and finally destroying the enamel leading to formation of cavities.

Damaged Filling

Your filling may get damaged and wear out with time or before time due to improper care. 

The lost filling or damaged filling may expose the nerve endings of the tooth leading to toothache and sensitivity.

Dental Abscess

Dental abscess is pus formation in the tooth or periodontal structures due to bacterial infection.

The pus accumulation exerts more than normal pressure on the tooth and surrounding structures resulting in throbbing toothache.

Trauma Or Infection Of The Temporomandibular Joint 

Your jaw may get several sports injuries or trauma from bad oral habits like grinding and clenching of teeth.

Such injury to the jaw or any infection involving the jaw causes pain in the TMJ that sometimes or often radiates towards the teeth and surrounding structures resulting in toothache.

Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding or bruxism leads to dental abrasion, wearing out your teeth and sometimes weakening and fracturing it, exposing the nerve endings, leading to facial pain and toothache.

Teeth grinding is mostly attributed to stress and anxiety. It often occurs during night sleep in children.

Tooth Fracture Or Tooth Crack

Tooth fracture or any crack on the teeth due to any injury, may wear away your enamel and expose the inner dentinal tubules and nerve endings resulting in toothache and sensitive tooth.

Wisdom Tooth Eruption

Eruption of the wisdom tooth or the 3rd molars is extremely painful and in some people may cause minor fever as well.

Dry Socket

After 2-3 days of tooth extraction, you may experience severe pain resembling toothache. This may be due to a dry socket also called alveolar osteitis and you must see your dentist to resolve it.

Sinus Infection Toothache

Infection of the sinus or sinus inflammation called sinusitis may cause toothache that is mostly generalised and involves upper teeth and not just one tooth.

This is commonly due to the pressure exerted by the sinus inflammation or pus formation.

Symptoms Of A Toothache

Toothache due to different reasons may have different manifestations.

Toothache can be sharp and excruciating, throbbing that increases at night, or may be constant throughout.

In some people, toothache results from eating or drinking something sweet or hot or cold while in some it may manifest upon biting.

Depending on the cause, toothaches may manifest some common symptoms such as:

  • Periodontal swelling or swelling around the tooth structures.
  • Mild fever or headache
  • Mild Pain around the ear and neck.
  • Pus drainage from infected teeth.
  • Halitosis or bad breath.

Everything You Need To Know About A Sore Throat

What is a sore throat?

Dry, painful, or itching and scratchy feeling in the throat is a sore throat with pain being the most common symptom. 

Depending on the part of the throat they affect, sore throat can be divided into following types: 

  • Pharyngitis – area right behind the mouth is mostly affected
  • Tonsillitis – swelling and redness of the tonsils mostly in the back of the mouth
  • Laryngitis – swelling and redness of the voice box, also called larynx

Sore throat symptoms

Sore throat symptoms may vary depending on the cause. A sore throat can feel:

  • Scratchy and itchy
  • Burning and dry
  • Tender and irritated

Symptoms of a sore throat aggravate on swallowing and the tonsils appear red. Area of pus may also form on the tonsils.

Secondary symptoms associated with sore throat are:

  • nasal congestion or runny nose
  • Sneezing and cough
  • Fever or chills
  • swollen glands in the neck and hoarse voice
  • body aches and headache
  • Difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia) and appetite loss

Causes Of Sore Throats

Causes of sore throats range from Colds, flu, viral and bacterial infections to allergies and injuries. Some of the most common causes of sore throat are: 

1. Viral infections

Viruses cause about 90 percent of sore throats. Viruses that cause sore throats are:

2. Bacterial infections

Bacterial infections can also result in sore throats. Group A Streptococcus bacteria causes the most common infection of the throat and tonsils, called Strep Throat. 

Strep throat causes nearly 40 percent of sore throat cases in children. 

Tonsillitis, and sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea and chlamydia can also cause a sore throat.

3. Allergies

Allergens like pollen, grass, and pet dander triggers the immune system to release chemicals that cause symptoms similar to that of a sore throat. 

4. Dry air

Dry air, mostly during winters, can vapour off moisture from the mouth and throat. This leads to a dry and scratchy feeling in the throat that resembles sore throat symptoms.

5. Smoke and chemicals

The following may irritate the throat leading to symptoms similar to that of a sore throat: 

  • cigarette and other tobacco smoke
  • air pollution
  • cleaning products and other chemicals and irritants

6. Injury

Any injury, continuous talking or yelling or singing, strains the vocal cords and muscles in the throat, leading to symptoms of a sore throat.  

7. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition in which stomach acid returns back into the oesophagus, burning the oesophagus and throat, causing symptoms like heartburn.

8. Tumour

A tumour of the throat, voice box, or tongue is a rare cause of a sore throat. The signs and symptoms of sore throat in such cases are persistent and do not go away in a few days. 

How is a sore throat diagnosed?

Doctors diagnose sore throat based on symptoms, a throat exam, and a strep test to rule out the possibility of strep throat. For a sore throat, you might need to visit an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) specialist.

Home remedies for a sore throat

Most sore throats are treatable at home with plenty of rest and following home remedies to lessen the pain of a sore throat:

  • Warm water and 1 teaspoon salt mixture gargle
  • Drink warm, throat soothing liquids like hot honey tea, herbal tea, soup broth, or warm water with lemon
  • Suck on a piece of hard candy or a lozenge
  • Turn on a cool mist humidifier to add moisture to the air
  • Rest your voice until your throat feels better.

When to call your doctor

Sore throats due to a viral infection usually get better on their own in two to seven days. If it persists even after seven days and symptoms worsen, it is time to call your doctor. 


This blog post addressed the question, “toothache and sore throat on one side”. We understood if molars can cause a sore throat on one side, what a toothache is, why does it occur and what are its symptoms. The article outlined everything about a sore throat including signs and symptoms of sore throat, causes of sore throat, diagnosis, home remedies and when to call a doctor.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs): Toothache And Sore Throat On One Side

Can a toothache give you a sore throat?

Yes, toothache is a secondary cause of sore throat and thus can give you sore throat indirectly.

Tooth infection is the cause of toothache and may spread to the throat tonsils to directly cause sore throat.

Why does only one side of the throat hurt?

Only one side of the throat hurts because the tonsils on only one side of the throat might have been infected. It may be due to less severity of the viral or bacterial infection. 

How To Instantly Get Relief From Toothache?

For instant relief from toothache, take an over-the-counter pain killer, use lukewarm salt water rinse multiple times throughout the day and try some clove oil and garlic which are easily available in your kitchen.

How To Treat Sore Throat From Wisdom Teeth?

Sore throats from wisdom teeth can be treated at home with plenty of rest and gargling with warm salt water mixture. To prepare the salt water mixture, take ½ to 1 teaspoon of salt and add it in lukewarm water.

Can A Tooth Infection Cause Strep Throat?

No, strep throat is not caused due to a tooth infection. Strep throat is caused by Group A streptococcus bacteria that are highly contagious and may spread through air droplets, or sharing food or drinks with an infected person, or due to poor hand hygiene.


Sore Throat on One Side: 8 Causes – Healthline

​Why is only one side of my throat sore? – Ceenta

Toothache: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Ten Types of Toothaches: Causes and Remedies. (2018)

Teeth grinding. (2020)

Can a Sinus Infection Cause a Toothache? (2019)

Okeson JP. Non-odontogenic toothache. Northwest Dentistry. 2000 Sep-Oct;79(5):37-44. PMID: 11413614.

Sore Throat, (2020)

Strep throat. (2015).

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