Healthy Smiles Premier Dental
f you feel tooth sensitivity or even pain when you eat high-sugar snacks or foods, it’s important to get the exact cause diagnosed and addressed ASAP. See your dentist for an exam, since tooth sensitivity could mean you are grinding your teeth at night, have a cavity, or need a dental crown or dental bonding for a chipped tooth.
However, it is most likely that tooth sensitivity is the result of eroded enamel, the outer layer of a tooth. Enamel is the hardest tissue in the body, but can be eroded, exposing the next layer, the dentin, which has tiny tubes that connect the outside of a tooth to the nerves at its center. When stimulated in various ways, pain signals are sent out.
Erosion can occur due to the bacterial film called plaque, which develops on food or beverage particles that are not cleaned off soon after consumption and emits an acid. Excessively vigorous brushing, especially with a brush whose bristles are not soft enough, is another cause of erosion.
But what does not get enough attention is that sugary foods play an out-size role in enamel erosion. They stick to the teeth and are hard to clean off, whether pancake syrup or gummies, until they penetrate the enamel and gums. We might think brushing once a day for a minute is good enough to keep damage from occurring, but we soon find out that this results in dental caries (cavities) and the gingivitis (the first stage of gum infection). Dental pain is inevitable.
Other things besides chocolate cake and candy bars can lead to sensitive teeth: coffee, tea, fruit and fruit drinks, wine, sodas (which are high in acids), and simple carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, and rice. If you eat an acidic food, alternate with cheese or plain yogurt to buffer it, as Pronamel, the maker of Sensodyne toothpaste, advises: https://www.pronamel.us/tooth-erosion/how-to-prevent-acid-erosion/. It also suggests using a straw when sipping sweet beverages and swishing them around in the mouth. Also, to wait 30 minutes after a meal before brushing.
Once enamel has been eaten away by food acid, it cannot be regrown. However, your dentist suggests that there are many ways to protect it from being further damaged and make your teeth less sensitive and your mouth healthier:
- Brush for two minutes after breakfast using a soft or medium bristle brush and floss before bedtime.
- Use a toothpaste that has stannous fluoride or a formula that remineralizers enamel, while providing desensitizing ingredients.
- Eat a diet high in vegetables, seeds, nuts, beans, whole grains, healthy fats (like olive oil), proteins, and fiber (which increases saliva production that prevents cavities). A high-sugar diet creates cravings for more junk food.
- If you feel the urge for sugar, try jogging or brisk walking, drink a glass of water, or take a hot shower, which somehow reduce that. Also, be sure to get enough sleep–it actually helps your emotional health that otherwise might cause you to indulge in excessive sweets.
- Take a multivitamin supplement and additional calcium and magnesium, to provide your body with the basic nutrients to keep it healthy, including your teeth and bones.
- Substitute high-sugar foods and drinks with those sweetened with Xylitol (which actively fights periodontal disease and cavities), stevia, monk fruit, or erythritol (an artificial sugar that is healthy).