It’s that time of year. The season for goodies galore. When the sweets and treats options are plentiful. And possibly, unfortunately, a little painful for some. Do your teeth hurt after eating sugar? Does eating chocolate lead to tooth pain or sensitivity?
If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Sugar sensitivity, when your teeth hurt after eating sugar, is usually a symptom of a greater problem. Tooth pain, no matter the severity, is never fun. That’s why when you experience even the slightest ache, you need to determine the cause and how to prevent it in the future.
Causes for Sugar Sensitivity
If you’re experiencing sugar sensitivity due to chocolate or any kind of sweets, sadly, there’s a good chance you have some sort of damage to your teeth or gums. You can experience sensitivity for a number of reasons. Here are some of the most common.
Loss of Enamel
Enamel is the thin outer layer of your teeth. It’s the hardest tissue in the body. However, enamel can wear down or erode over time, leaving your teeth more susceptible to cavities and decay.
Enamel loss can result from brushing too hard or using a toothbrush with hard bristles. This causes the enamel to wear away. Instead, try to use a toothbrush, whether it’s manual or electric, with soft bristles and brush gently in a circular motion as opposed to straight back and forth across your teeth.
Eating or drinking acidic foods can also wear away at your enamel. For example, pickles, tomatoes, coffee, and alcohol can cause enamel erosion, leading to sugar sensitivity.
Tooth Decay or Cavities
Sufficient and healthy tooth enamel is essential to keep bacteria from entering your teeth and gums. If your enamel continues to be worn away without being treated, you run the risk of developing little holes or openings in your teeth.
These openings allow bacteria and acid to get in and reach the next layer of your teeth, called dentin. This results in tooth decay which leads to cavities. If a dentist doesn’t’ fill your cavity, sugar can enter and cause sudden pain and sensitivity.
When plaque builds up and hardens on your teeth, it’s called tartar. Tartar can irritate your gums and leave them inflamed. This can cause your gums to recede and leave your tooth’s root exposed. In addition, when sugar gets trapped in your gum line and touches your tooth’s root, which contains nerve endings, you can experience an unpleasant sensation.
Trauma to the teeth can cause sensitivity. We’ve all chomped down on something without knowing and thought, “Uh oh, did I just crack my tooth?” Whether the physical damage is caused by an accident, biting on something hard, or even unknowingly grinding your teeth, the enamel is compromised and can lead to sensitivity.
Teeth Whitening Treatments
Teeth whitening has become a widespread practice. Many teeth whitening procedures use a solution that contains hydrogen peroxide to lift stains. However, to be effective, the hydrogen peroxide teeth whitening solution must penetrate the tooth and reach the soft dentin inside. This can cause temporary sensitivity to sugar and sweets. Although, it typically fades after a short time and doesn’t cause permanent pain.
When considering whitening your teeth, it’s always a good idea to check with your dentist to find the best treatment for you. This helps avoid teeth sensitivity and ensures the treatment is done correctly.
Prevent Teeth Sensitivity With Proper Oral Care
By practicing and maintaining good oral health, you can prevent your teeth from hurting when you eat chocolate or other types of sugar. It will also help you to prevent developing cavities.
By brushing and flossing correctly and regularly, you can keep acid and bacteria from building up in your mouth and away from settling on your teeth and gums. Also, try to avoid alcohol-based mouthwash as it can lead to enamel dental erosion.
Other things to consider:
- Wear a mouth guard at night if you are prone to grinding
- Avoid overindulgence of sugary foods and drinks
- If you have cavities, get them filled
- Brush after meals, and when you can’t, chew sugarless gum
And, lastly, but most importantly, visit your dentist and get your routine cleanings. You can spot any potential underlying issues before they become major by seeing your dentist regularly. If your teeth hurt after eating sugar or chocolate, your dentist can help determine why and provide a course of treatment to decrease sensitivity. Don’t wait; schedule your cleaning today!