Why do my teeth hurt when I eat sweets?
Feeling pain in the teeth when you eat sweets is unpleasant. Sweet and sugary substances are known to damage the teeth and make them more sensitive to certain temperatures, like cold and heat. Apart from causing sensitivity, sweet foods and drinks can cause toothache. One question most people ask is why they feel pain in their teeth when they consume sugar. Feeling pain is usually a symptom of an underlying problem so it is best to first know what causes the pain before talking about how to prevent the pain.
WHY DO MY TEETH HURT WHEN I EAT SWEETS: POSSIBLE CAUSES
1. Enamel loss: Enamel is the outer layer of the teeth that is white in color, it acts as a cover for the teeth and protects them from decay. Losing the enamel can make you feel pain in your teeth when you eat sweets. The most common way of losing the enamel is by using a toothbrush with hard bristles on your teeth, the hard bristles tend to wear off the enamel. Another cause is eating acidic foods like tomatoes, pickles, cranberries, coffee and others. These foods make the enamel wear off.
It will also interest you to know that sweets have fermentable carbohydrates that produce acid when they are mixed with harmful bacteria that live in the mouth (according to the Indiana Dental Association). After eating sweets or sugary substances, leaving the mouth without rinsing off the acid produced will wash off the minerals in the enamel and make the teeth more sensitive. You may say that the saliva has the function of supplying or replacing minerals to the tooth enamel, but eating sweets constantly will make the saliva unable to restore the minerals in the enamel.
2. Tooth cavities or decay: The mouth has bacteria that feeds on sugar found in the mouth, this bacteria produces plaque on the teeth and gums. The plaque not only has bacteria but also acid that removes the minerals on the tooth enamel. Constant wearing off of the enamel leaves it vulnerable, then bacteria and acid can enter into the teeth including the dentin.
Immediately after the bacteria and acid enter the dentin, they start making holes in the enamel. The longer they are left in the enamel, the deeper and larger holes they make. When you now eat more sugary substances, you feel pain because the acid produced is stuck in the cavities.
3. Receding gums: The teeth had gums that protected the roots and covered the bone of each tooth. When these gums start to recede, you can feel the pain when you consume sweets. One of the factors that makes the gum to withdraw or move back is old age. As you get older, the gums naturally move up from their normal position. Brushing the teeth too hard and not maintaining good oral hygiene is another factor that can affect the gums and cause them to recede. Certain lifestyles like smoking can lead to receding gums.
4. Gum disease (gingivitis): Plaque, which is produced by bacteria, can cause the gums to have disease. The plaques are found on the teeth and when they are not removed, they become hard and form tartar. Tartar makes the gums bleed, have infection and the gums can swell up in most cases.
If these bacteria are not taken care of, they expose the root of the teeth and make your teeth hurt when you eat sweets.
5. Tooth damage: Any trauma that affects the teeth can make eating sugary substances painful. It can also lead to pain when you eat normal food. Grinding your teeth is one way to damage the teeth and cause sensitivity to sweets.
6. Teeth whitening treatment: Teeth whitening products are used to make the enamel whiter, these products contain hydrogen peroxide as an agent that whiten stains. The peroxide causes tooth sensitivity because it enters the tooth to work on the dentin. Constant use of teeth whitening products can make your teeth become more responsive to stimuli.
HOW DOES THE PAIN FEEL
If your teeth are sensitive, you may feel some sensations when you eat sweets. You can feel:
- Tingling feeling
- Pain in the face or eyes
- Sharp, severe pain.
HOW DO YOU TREAT PAIN IN YOUR TEETH WHEN YOU EAT SWEETS
1. Pain relief drugs: There are so many over-the-counter medications that can help you reduce the pain you feel when you eat sweet foods. You can take these drugs before or after eating but make sure you take the prescribed or recommended dose.
2. Filling: Dental fillings are the most effective way to treat cavities and reduce tooth sensitivity. Filling your cavities means that the sugar and acids will no longer see any holes to enter. You should get dental fillings as soon as possible.
3. Mouth guards: Mouth guards are used to protect the teeth against damage, they are mostly worn at night when the teeth have less work to do. If you find yourself grinding your teeth which is not good for your enamel, it is best to get mouth guards, they will help protect your enamel.
4. Sealants: Sealants are very effective at preventing tooth decay. They are plastic resins that are placed on the teeth, they close the areas where food leftovers and plaque are likely to form. They also make brushing the teeth easier. Both adults and children can get sealants.
5. Scaling and deep cleaning: Scaling and deep cleaning is done by a dentist, it is the thorough cleaning of your teeth with tools in order to get rid of tartar. The hardened plaques are scraped off and the teeth washed with antibiotics. If the tartar is severe, grafting may be used as well. This is best for gingivitis and receding gums.
6. Special toothpaste and gels: There are toothpastes designed for people with sensitive teeth. These pastes have enough fluoride to help the teeth stand against acid from sweet foods and also remineralize the enamel.
7. Fluoride varnish: Fluoride varnish can be rubbed on the teeth to make the enamel stronger. This varnish gets hardened on the teeth and reduces how nerve impulses are sent or received.
HOW TO PREVENT PAIN IN THE TEETH WHEN YOU EAT SWEETS
The best option for tooth pain after eating sweets is to prevent the pain from happening in the first place. Some of the ways are:
- Stay away from too much sugar, your foods should have no sugar at all or very little (which must be rarely eaten).
- Use a toothbrush with a soft bristle.
- Do not brush the teeth too hard in order not to wear off the enamel
- Floss at least once a day
- Use fluoride toothpaste when brushing your teeth
- Avoid smoking or chewing products with nicotine to help prevent gum receding
- Brush after eating foods that are sugary or have high carbohydrates in them like potatoes
- Chew sugarless gum if you can not brush after eating sweets
- See your dentist at least twice a year for a deep cleaning or dental check-up.
WHEN SHOULD YOU SEE A DENTIST
You should see a dentist if:
- You notice foul smell from your mouth
- The pain becomes very severe and disrupts your normal activities
- Your gums are bleeding or swollen
- The pain refuses to go away even after using pain relief drugs and sensitive toothpaste.
SWEETS YOU SHOULD AVOID EATING
There are sweets and drinks you should stay away from so as not to cause pain and discomfort.
1. Gummy or sticky sweets: These sweets stick to the teeth for a long time, their long stay makes it easier for bacteria to grow on the teeth. Some of these sweets are honey, icing and whipped cream and dried fruits.
2. Hard sweets and candies: Those candies you can suck stays in the mouth for a long time before they melt. Their long stay give bacteria a chance to produce harmful acid for the teeth.
3. Carbonated drinks: Soft drinks like sodas are filled with so much sugar, they are also acidic which makes it easier for them to damage the teeth.
4. Orange juice: Orange juice has natural sugar but the sugar content is high. Also, there is citric acid which causes tooth sensitivity.
The teeth may appear hard, but they hard delicate and sensitive and any damage to any part of the teeth can make the entire set vulnerable to damage. This is why it is advised to take good care of the teeth to by watching what you eat and clean them every day.
Eating sweets and sugary substances are not entirely bad but how you care for the teeth after eating them and how often you consume these things can cause pain and discomfort.
If you feel pain anytime you eat sweet things, you can use pain relief drugs or sensitive toothpaste for your teeth. However, if the pain persists, you should see a dentist to check your teeth for other causes and treatment.