Long-term sugar consumption along with lack of oral hygiene can damage your teeth by making your teeth sensitive to heat or cold, increase the risk for tooth decay, and gum disease. This type of dental condition can be an alarming and unpleasant sensation, but there’s plenty you can do to prevent sensitive teeth.
The enamel of your teeth is the outer protective layer that protects your teeth against cavities (dental caries) and decay. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body, but it can be damaged by acids in food and drink.
Saliva helps neutralize these acids found in the foods and liquids you consume. But it’s essential to practice consistent oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing daily to prevent the enamel from being damaged. Once the enamel starts to erode, you’re at a greater risk of tooth decay and become more prone to tooth sensitivity.
Brushing too hard, or using a toothbrush with hard bristles, are one of the common causes of enamel damage. You can protect yourself against this by using a soft-bristled toothbrush, brushing at a 45-degree angle against your teeth, and brushing gently in a circular motion. If you’re unsure about your brushing technique, ask your family dentist for tips on how you can improve your oral hygiene routine.
The foods you eat will make a big difference in your smile. For instance, apples are great for repairing damage, while soft drinks do the opposite! Certain foods such as pickled foods, tomatoes, yogurt, wine, and citrus foods can wear away the enamel and increase the risk for cavities. And coffee and wine can discolor teeth.
Sensitivity in your teeth is not only an indication that you have lost enamel in your teeth. It could also be a sign that you have cavities. If you experience sensitivity, don’t hesitate to call your dentist — it could be a sign that you have cavities that need filling. Some of the symptoms of a cavity may include:
Dentin is the outer layer of the tooth under the enamel. When the enamel wears away due to decay, bruxism (grinding of your teeth), broken teeth, or chipped teeth, the dentin is exposed, resulting in a sensitive tooth. When this does happen, you will only feel sensitivity in one area of the tooth instead of the whole tooth.
A tooth whitening procedure can cause mild sensitivity in some cases. However, the effect is generally temporary and will fade compared to other dental issues like tooth decay or enamel loss.
Gum disease or periodontal disease impacts more than just the gums. It can make your teeth feel sensitive to sugary foods and also affect your overall oral health. Untreated gingivitis and periodontal disease may result in gums receding, exposing the lower tooth surfaces, which are more sensitive to the acids in sweet foods. In addition to your gums receding, it can increase your risk for tooth decay and tooth loss.
Proper oral care and routine preventative and restorative care can minimize dental sensitivity. Here are some other ways to prevent tooth sensitivity to sweet foods.
If you are brushing too hard with a toothbrush with hard bristles, it may be damaging your teeth. Try switching between soft and medium-firm bristles to find the right toothbrush for you. Practicing good brushing technique (brushing gently at a 45-degree angle in a circular motion) will also decrease the chance of you damaging your teeth.
To prevent dental erosion – the gradual loss of enamel and sensitivity to sugar, it’s important to eat a healthy, balanced diet. A diet rich in green vegetables and high-fiber carbohydrates can strengthen the teeth and increase resistance to decay. Yogurt, cheese, milk, and other dairy products can also provide calcium and vitamins.
If eating sweets gives you painful cavities, one way to make your teeth hurt less is to reduce the amount of sugary treats you ingest. Stay away from what hurts your teeth and engage in a healthier routine by eating less sweets. This will reduce cavities and prevent tooth decay.
Acidic fruits like citrus and lemon, tomatoes and tomato juice, and sugary drinks can attack your tooth’s enamel. If you do consume such beverages, drinking water after consuming acidic foods will help wash out the acid in your mouth.
Some at-home whitening treatments can cause more problems than they fix, such as those involving bleach. Professional tooth whitening treatments are safer and more effective–but they’re also more expensive. Talk to your dentist about the best process for whitening your teeth and avoiding sensitivity.
Treating tooth sensitivity requires a different approach for each patient. Our staff takes the time to learn about your individual needs and make sure we recommend the treatment that’s best for you.
People experiencing sensitive teeth may benefit from using over-the-counter painkillers for temporary relief. Because it is only temporary relief, painkillers only mask the situation. If you’re looking for a way to stop your teeth from hurting, you need to address the root problem.
Your dentist can help you with a custom-made mouthguard that will fit snugly in your mouth and protect your teeth from further damage. If you still experience tooth sensitivity, find out what the underlying cause is to treat the dental concern.
When significant enamel loss is present, your dentist may recommend dental bonding. This tooth-bonding procedure uses a tooth-colored composite resin that is applied to the teeth and hardened with a curing light. Dental bonding provides a stronger, more protective layer of enamel that can resist stains better.
If you have a cavity, fillings can help protect the sensitive dentin from further decay. Sugar sits on teeth and eventually ferments, causing deeper damage within the tooth. Once decay has made its way through the enamel, it reaches the softer inner layer called dentin. A preventive filling will help ensure your tooth’s structural integrity remains intact and that the tooth doesn’t become sensitive.
Sealants are long-lasting coatings for the chewing surfaces of your teeth that are most prone to cavities. They help keep food-related cavity-causing bacteria away from these surfaces, reducing the risk of developing cavities and tooth sensitivity.
Fluoride helps promote remineralization of the tooth structure, which can help prevent cavities. It is also very effective at strengthening the tooth itself. Fluoride is a mineral naturally found in water, and it can also come in various forms like toothpaste, mouthwash, and gel.
Toothpaste for sensitive teeth
Tooth sensitivity is a common problem for many people. Using a special toothpaste carefully formulated to protect sensitive teeth such as Sensodyne can help reduce sensitivity when brushing.
It’s time to see your dentist if:
Once your teeth have lost their protective enamel, it cannot be restored. If your natural enamel is still there but has been worn away, it can be strengthened by remineralization. Calcium-rich foods and fluoride treatments encourage this process. Acids harm tooth enamel and deplete calcium, so avoiding acidic foods and drinks will help.
There are many possible causes for teeth sensitivity, where depending on the reason, it may go away within the day. In other cases where there is an underlying cause, such as needing a filling or root canal, it will not go away on its own until you seek dental treatment.
A salt water rinse is a safe and effective way to soothe your teeth and relieve mild discomfort caused by a sensitive tooth. Rinsing with warm salt water can help reduce inflammation in the tooth, but does not eliminate the cause of sensitivity or relieve it long-term.
The bacteria that live in our mouths (the teeth and gums) react to the sweets and drinks we eat and drink. The reaction between the bacteria and the sugar produces an acid that makes the teeth sensitive and can even cause dental caries.
Heightened tooth sensitivity can be a warning sign and one that should not be ignored to protect your oral health. If you find that you are sensitive to hot, cold, or sweets, give us a call. This is a sign that you may have an underlying problem in your mouth to cause tooth sensitivity. It’s never too late to look into it!
To learn more about your options for effective treatment of sensitive teeth, contact us at our Fairview, TX office to schedule a in-person consultation with us today – 972-468-1440