Have a toothache vs. have toothache

In American English, we normally use the expression “have a toothache” when experiencing a pain in or about a tooth.

In American English, we normally use the expression “have a toothache” when experiencing a pain in or about a tooth.

A significant number of US children had a toothache within the last 6 months.

In Great Britain and Australia, English speakers sometimes drop the article “a”.

Children who have toothache may have difficulties with eating.

1. Toothache in American English

In American English, the word toothache is countable and takes a determiner (a, the, my, your, this, etc.).

Olivia went to the dentist after having a toothache that lasted for three weeks.

If your toothache is serious, see your dentist as soon as possible.

Follow the same practice of including a determiner before toothache with related expressions and phrases, such as “treat a toothache”, “manage a toothache”, “relief of a toothache”, “for my toothache”, “the cause of your toothache”, etc.

I went to the dentist’s office for my toothache.

You’ll probably get X-rays of your mouth taken to show the cause of your toothache.

The treatment depends on what is causing your toothache.

However, when using the plural form (toothaches) in a general sense, drop the determiner.

Toothaches can be caused by tooth decay, infected gums, or a tooth fracture.

But you must add an identifier or quantifier ("the" and "some" in the examples below) to talk about a specific group or collection.

The toothaches were the result of a change in barometric pressure.

Some toothaches are caused by a bacterial infection in the center of the tooth.

A partial list of symptom names that also require an article can be found below:

2. Toothache in British English

In some situations, the British tend to drop the article “a” before a symptom name like toothache.

Children who have toothache may have pain, infections, and difficulties with sleeping.

If you have toothache for more than two days, visit your dentist.

Thus, "toothache" can be both countable and uncountable, and we can use the uncountable noun in a general sense.

Toothache takes many forms.

They also use the alternative “have got” more frequently, particularly in informal situations.

I’ve got toothache. Should I see my dentist?

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