Jaw Pain After Drinking Alcohol: Causes & How To Get Rid Of It?

Alcoholism is a worldwide problem having several bad short term and long term effects on health. Drinking alcohol is a voluntary act, it is a learned behavior. Very few people like the taste of alcohol, but people drink it out of curiosity or as a custom or just to escape stress as it gives a sense of well being and euphoria for a while.

People suffer from several bad effects of alcohol, and one of them although less common is pain in the jaw. Soon after the first sip, you may feel pain in your jaw.

At first you may neglect the burning and tingling in the jaw and mouth, but you may be baffled to drink another peg as the pain persists.

There are several causes responsible for this uncomfortable feeling, some of which may be alarming to indicate grave health condition.

What Causes Jaw Pain After Drinking Alcohol?

Alcohol consists of several chemicals and substances. It is acidic in nature. Often due to fermentation it has traces of impurities which may have mild toxic effect. Pain in jaw after drinking alcohol may be quiet frustrating for a person, although it may remain for few minutes to few hours.

It can occur due to varied causes.

  • First bite syndrome: Relatively a rare complication among people who have undergone facial surgery, drinking liquids or eating the first bite especially acidic can trigger pain. The pain is intense, cramping and electric shock like. It arises in the region of salivary gland or the temporomadibular joint on the operated side. The pain rapidly spreads to the jaw. Main reason suspected for jaw pain is due to denervation of nerve during surgery. It usually occurs mainly after drinking red wine, which has astringent properties.
  • Temporomadibular joint dysfunction: This condition is most common for causing pain in jaw after drinking alcohol.
    TMJ is a hinge joint connecting the jaw bone to the skull bone. It allows the movement of jaw while eating, drinking, speaking and yawning. The acidity and astringent property of alcohol can cause muscles of the jaw bone to undergo spasm. This may frequently occur after drinking alcohol. It may also occur after drinking any acidic fruit juice. People having habit of clenching and grinding their teeth are usual sufferers of TMJ problem. Eating very hard or expanding the jaw wide open may also strain the joint.
  • Salivary gland problems: Obstruction of salivary gland, such as parotid gland can lead to pain in jaw after drinking red wine or any other type of alcohol. Obstruction can develop due to formation of stone in the salivary duct, a tube which facilitates saliva to release into the mouth. Drinking alcohol can cause sudden stimulation of salivary gland. As it is blocked, it may enlarge in size and press the facial nerve passing beneath it. Facial nerve is innervated in the jaw muscles. Irritated nerve leads to contraction of jaw muscles triggering pain.
  • Heart problem: One of the symptoms of coronary artery disease (CAD) is radiating pain in jaw. If you are suffering from CAD, you may get radiating pain in jaw after drinking alcohol, especially in cold climate.

How To Get Rid Of Jaw Pain After Drinking Alcohol?

If you do not want to suffer from the discomforting jaw pain after drinking alcohol, the best solution is to quit alcohol. However, if you have consumed alcohol, a mild gentle massage on the TMJ joint or on jaw area will alleviate the pain. Applying warm fomentation or a warm cloth on the painful area will reduce the pain.

In case of severe pain anti inflammatory medicines will help to relieve the pain. Acupuncture and acupressure are other alternative treatment measures that can be taken immediately for reducing discomforting pain.

Pain caused due to angina requires medical treatment. In such disorder it is necessary to quit further intake of alcohol as this may lead to more serious event such as a heart attack.