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How to Deal with Tooth Sensitivity to Sugar

People with sensitive teeth may find that sugary foods cause discomfort. Eating something as simple as an apple or drinking a glass of iced tea can be painful and irritating. But with minor changes to your daily routine, sensitive teeth from sugar can become a thing of the past.

You're not alone if you have sensitive teeth and find sugary foods irritating. Many struggle with this issue after eating sweets or drinking hot or cold drinks. It’s usually caused by exposed dentin—the layer beneath enamel that's softer than the outside of your tooth—and it’s more common in people who naturally have thinner enamel or gingiva (gums).

You probably have exposed dentin because the protective layer of enamel has either worn away or wasn’t formed correctly in the first place. Here are some tips on treating tooth sensitivity to sugar so you can enjoy those sweet treats again.

What is Sugar Sensitivity?

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When you're exposed to something like cold or hot foods or drinks that contain sugar, that causes your gums to swell up, and that swelling causes pressure on your enamel. If your enamel is already thin or damaged, it can cause the sensitive layer of dentin to become exposed.

In some cases, the gums can become so swollen that they push the tooth away from the surrounding bone. This is known as "displacement," which can cause the tooth to become loose and at risk for infection.

If you're experiencing tooth sensitivity, you should also be aware of signs of infection like swelling, increased pain, and a change in the color or texture of your gums.

Fix the Problem, Don't Avoid the Trigger

If you’ve been diagnosed with tooth sensitivity, you’re better off trying to fix the problem rather than simply avoiding the trigger. Your dentist might be able to make the enamel stronger or put a protective layer over the exposed dentin.

You can also reduce the amount of acid in your mouth, which can help reduce sensitivity. This can be done with fluoride treatments, dental sealants, or even laser treatments to reduce inflammation.

While these treatments can help reduce sensitivity, they won’t entirely fix the problem. This is why it’s essential to speak with your dentist to find out what could cause tooth sensitivity and how to prevent or fix it.

How Does Eating Sweets Make Your Teeth Hurt?

When you eat sugary foods, it causes a rush of saliva that washes away harmful bacteria. This is a good thing because it keeps your mouth healthy. However, too much acid can damage your teeth and lead to tooth decay.

When you eat sugary foods, the natural bacteria in your mouth ferment them and turn them into acid. This acid can then eat away at the enamel that protects your teeth and cause sensitivity.

Bacteria can also damage your teeth when they build up in your mouth, and the enamel wears away. When the enamel is gone, and the dentin is exposed, it can cause sensitivity in some areas around your teeth and gums.

Reasons for the Loss of Enamel

There can be several reasons for the loss of enamel which can cause tooth sensitivity, including diet, genetics, or certain oral health disorders like gingivitis. If you have a diet high in sugar and acids, you’re more likely to experience tooth decay and loss of enamel.

This can worsen if you don’t practice good oral hygiene or ignore early signs of gingivitis. All of this can progress to periodontitis if left untreated. You may also experience enamel loss and tooth sensitivity if you have an autoimmune disease. A genetic predisposition to thin enamel can also cause tooth sensitivity.

The Dangers of Sugar on Your Teeth

Eating too many sweets and sugary foods can lead to tooth decay and tooth loss, but it can also cause tooth sensitivity. While tooth sensitivity can be annoying, it’s best to address it before it escalates into a full-blown infection.

Bacteria can collect around the exposed dentin and lead to a severe infection. An infection can also make it more challenging to treat tooth sensitivity, as antibiotics can dry out your mouth and make it more difficult for your saliva to wash away bacteria.

Eating too many sweets can also increase diabetes, heart disease, and stroke risks.

Avoiding Tooth Sensitivity

While you can’t wholly avoid teeth becoming sensitive, there are some things that you can do to reduce the risk. Limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks. You can also try rinsing your mouth with water after eating sugary foods to help wash away bacteria.

Try eating healthy foods like fruits and vegetables that contain antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and plaque buildup, which cause damage to teeth and gums. You can also try using a desensitizing toothpaste that can help coat your teeth and reduce sensitivity.

There are also some oral hygiene practices that you can follow to help reduce the risk of tooth sensitivity. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day.

You can also try using a tongue scraper twice a week to help remove bacteria that can collect on your tongue. Rinse your mouth with a diluted baking soda and water solution for better oral protection.

Treatment for Sensitive Teeth

If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, you should speak with a dentist to help treat the issue. They may recommend more vigorous brushing habits with specialized toothbrushes or toothpaste that can help reduce the risk of tooth sensitivity.

You can also try wearing a mouth guard while you sleep to protect against teeth grinding. Your dentist may give you fluoride treatments or antibiotics if there is an infection or if you have thin enamel or gum disease.

In more extreme cases, your dentist may recommend a protective barrier like sealants or a crown to protect the teeth from further damage. If you want to enjoy sugary treats again, you can also try using a desensitizing toothpaste, mouthwash, or spray that can help reduce tooth sensitivity.

Other Possible Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

Gum disease

When plaque and bacteria build up along the gum line, they can erode your tooth enamel, which makes your teeth more susceptible to sensitivity.

Certain medications

Some prescription drugs, like antidepressants, anti-anxiety medicines, and anti-epileptic drugs, can cause tooth enamel to thin out, making your teeth more sensitive.

Dry mouth

People who suffer from conditions like Sjogren’s syndrome, diabetes, and certain autoimmune diseases are more susceptible to dry mouths. This can make your teeth more sensitive because saliva is a natural defense against tooth decay.

A change in diet

You may notice an increased sensitivity if you suddenly start eating more spicy foods, sweets, or acidic foods like citrus fruits. Try limiting your daily consumption of these foods and beverages.

Visit Your Dentist at Lovett Dental So You Can Enjoy Your Treats

We are committed to helping you achieve your best smile by utilizing modern dental techniques, the latest technology, and world-class patient care. We have assembled a team of board-certified specialists covering a broad range of dentistry services.

Doctors specializing in the most advanced dental procedures to achieve complete smile makeovers; specialists utilizing dental implants to restore smiles; highly trained pediatric dentists and orthodontists treating the unique needs of children

Our experienced professionals are ready to take care of your dental needs. You’ll find us throughout the greater Houston area, including Beaumont and Corpus Christi, under a few names, including Lovett, Splendid, Haven Dentistry, and Our Children’s Dentist & Orthodontist.

When you visit your dentist at Lovett Dental, you can enjoy your treats without worrying. We offer a wide range of services to help you keep your teeth healthy, including teeth cleanings, check-ups, and dental exams.

We also specialize in cosmetic dentistry, offering procedures such as veneers and crowns to help you look and feel your best. If you have questions about our services or treatment options, don’t hesitate to contact us. We look forward to seeing you soon!