Why Do I Experience Pain When Swallowing?

Odynophagia, commonly known as painful swallowing, is something many people experience. You might experience pain in your mouth, throat, esophagus, or chest. If you have pain when swallowing, it can indicate multiple causes. Usually, it is due to an infection or swallowing a pill wrong. However, there can be a serious underlying cause for this symptom too. Your doctor can identify it with the help of other symptoms.

What Causes Pain When Swallowing?

Inflammation, infection, and obstruction can occur in your throat due to multiple conditions. We use the muscles and nerves in our mouth, throat, and food pipe while swallowing. Thus, an obstruction or problem there can result in painful swallowing. Reasons that lead to this condition include:
1. Strep Throat
Infections like strep throat are generally why your throat hurts while eating. Group A Streptococcus bacteria causes this bacterial infection. If strep throat is the reason why you feel pain while swallowing, the following symptoms will also occur:

  • Swollen lymph nodes on one or either side of the throat
  • White spots on the tonsils
  • Red dots on the roof of the mouth or the soft palate
  • Fever
  • Pain on the roof of the mouth

2. Esophagitis
An inflammation of your esophagus can cause pain when swallowing. It is the pipe that connects the mouth to the stomach, carrying food and liquids. Acid reflux, allergic reactions, medications, or infections can result in the inflammation of the esophagus, and this condition is known as esophagitis. If you experience pain due to esophagitis, you will also experience:

  • Chest and stomach pain
  • Hoarse voice
  • Coughing
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn

3. Oral Thrush
You can also experience painful swallowing if you have a yeast infection in the mouth, throat, or food pipe. Bacteria named candida is a common culprit for yeast infection, causing a condition called oral thrush. Oral thrush will look like this:

  • White patches on the tongue
  • Red skin at the corner of the lips
  • Dryness and cracked skin on the corner of the lips
  • Loss of taste

4. Tonsillitis
Tonsils are two lymph nodes positioned at the back of your throat. Viruses or bacterial infections can cause tonsillitis, which is the inflammation of the tonsils. Moreover, tonsillitis is contagious and might look like:

  • White or yellow patches on tonsils
  • Foul breath
  • Fever
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Tenderness in the neck or jaw

5. Throat Injury
Sometimes, having something that is too hot or has sharp edges can also be a reason for painful swallowing. You can injure your throat or food pipe. Consequently, you experience pain while swallowing. This pain might be on one or both sides of the throat, depending on where you injured it. Hence, eat your food slowly without haste, or you might hurt yourself.

What to Do?

Do not neglect the pain that occurs when swallowing. Visit your dentist and inform them about the condition and any other symptoms you are experiencing. They will conduct a diagnosis and suggest treatment accordingly. Our dental team at Mission Bend Family Dentistry can help if you are looking for a dental healthcare provider; just dial (832) 895-5110 to schedule an appointment.