You’ve got dental pain, so you need to see a dentist, right? Not necessarily. Discomfort in your jaw when you exert yourself – or get a bit upset or excited – is also a sign of angina, where the heart muscle struggles to get enough blood as a result of hardened, narrowed arteries. It could even signal a heart attack, especially if your toothache doesn’t subside when you rest. “I woke up out of a dead sleep at 4am with severe jaw pain,” posted one 49-year-old woman on US health website.
When it repeatedly disturbed her sleep and was later joined by numbness in her right arm and light pressure in her chest, her partner drove her to hospital, where doctors confirmed she was having a heart attack. “I never felt any pain other than in the jaw,” she stresses. “The heart doesn’t have regular pain fibres,” explains Dr Clare Craig, managing director of online GP service thanksdoctor.co.uk. “The brain interprets the messages from the heart nerves as having come from the other pain fibres that enter the spinal cord at that point, so it feels like the pain comes from the arm, shoulder, neck, upper abdomen or face.”
Chewing Ice A lump of the cold stuff is very nice in a Coke. But several studies have suggested that if you enjoy munching ice regularly, you could be iron-deficient. No-one really understands why this is the case, though it may be that it eases inflammation in the mouth caused by anaemia and the resulting lack of oxygen being transported by the blood. Ice is one of the most common cravings among mums-to-be, who often suffer from iron deficiency. But pagophagia, to give this odd habit its proper name, can be extreme. A 2009 study by the Kawasaki Medical School in Kurashiki, Japan, highlighted the case of one 37-year-old woman with anaemia who chomped on 30 or more ice cubes a day for 20 years