Aspirin versus Ibuprofen: A Comparison

Aspirin versus Ibuprofen: A Comparison

Aspirin and Ibuprofen are common medications used to treat dental pain.

Both Aspirin and Ibuprofen are NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and work similarly by stopping the body’s manufacturing of prostaglandins (*), which relieves pain and inflammation (*). However, there are several distinctions between the two medications, and they are not interchangeable.

Some main differences between Ibuprofen and Aspirin are:

    1. Aspirin is way more likely than low-dose Ibuprofen to cause side effects in your gastrointestinal system.
    2. Physicians do not recommend using Aspirin in children under 12 years of age or those under 16 with a viral illness since Reye’s syndrome (*) is a risk. However, you can typically use Ibuprofen for children over six months, and you can give it to a child with a viral infection.
    1. Aspirin may be used at low concentrations to diminish the risk of a heart attack or stroke or to help inhibit blood clotting. However, Ibuprofen has a more negligible effect on blood cells or platelets, so doctors don’t recommend protection against the above.
    2. Aspirin is a derivative of salicylic acid. Some people are sensitive to salicylates; signs may include asthma-like responses, nasal congestion, and hives.
  1. Doctors recommend Ibuprofen over Aspirin for persistent back pain, arthritis, and menstrual cramps. The incidence of gastrointestinal developments increases the longer the treatment period, and the chance of GI effects associated with aspirin use is already high. Many can use Aspirin occasionally to treat headaches, minor body pains, and dental pain.
  2. Aspirin use is not associated with a more elevated risk of cardiovascular events, nor does low-dose Ibuprofen (up to 1200mg/day). However, high-dose Ibuprofen (1200mg to 2400mg/day) is at higher risk. Therefore, patients with a history of heart issues or stroke should use NSAIDs with caution, and you should not use them after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.

We hope you have enjoyed our article. Thank you for reading it!

Glossary of Terms:

  • Prostaglandin – A hormone-like substance that acts in many body functions like the relaxation and contraction of smooth muscle and blood vessels, managing of blood pressure, and modulation of inflammation.
  • Inflammation – Redness, swelling, pain, and/or a sensation of heat in an area of the body.
  • Reye’s syndrome – a rare but severe disease that causes inflammation in the liver and brain.



This article is not medical advice. Please consult your doctor before making any decisions about medication.

Dr. Allan Hawryluk
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Dr. Allan Hawryluk

Allan Hawryluk Jr. is a Mississauga-based dentist who has built a reputation for comprehensive dental care. Born and raised in Port Credit, he returned after completing his dental residency in 2003 at the University of Colorado, Denver Health Sciences Center. He feels privileged to serve the community and is committed to maintaining our clinic standards set by his late father - Dr. Allan R. Hawryluk (Sr).