Are your teeth sensitive to sugar? Here's why

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If you have a sweet tooth, then you know that there’s nothing that quite hits that sweet spot other than…well, sugar! While it is surely an enjoyable part of life, for some of us, it can result in sensitivity in the teeth and cause much pain - especially if proper oral hygiene is not maintained. In this article, let us talk about it in depth.

Signs of sugar sensitivity in teeth

It is easy to recognize when your teeth are sensitive to sugary foods or drinks. Here are some symptoms you should look out for:

  • Toothache

  • Tingling sensation in the teeth

  • Sharp, stabbing pain

  • Pain in the sinuses, eyes, or along the side of the face

Causes of sugar sensitivity in teeth

There are a number of reasons that can lead to sugar sensitivity in teeth. Here are the causes you should consider:

  1. Loss of enamel:

    Enamel is the outer (and the strongest) layer of the teeth. However, sugary foods and drinks can damage this layer and wear it down. This is because they contain fermentable carbohydrates, which then mix with the mouth bacteria and produce acid. So unless this acid is brushed or rinsed away, it can remove the essential minerals from the tooth enamel and cause erosion in the enamel layer. Loss of enamel leaves the inner layers of the teeth such as dentin more vulnerable and sensitive, leading to pain and sensitivity to sugar.

  2. Cavities or caries:

    The harmful bacteria present in the mouth can feed on the sugar and create a sticky, whitish film on the surface of the teeth and under the gums, known as plaque. Plaque also has acidic content which can demineralize the tooth enamel, leaving the softer layers of the teeth at risk for bacteria attack and cavities. These cavities, in turn, can make the teeth sensitive to sugary foods and drinks.

    Maintaining proper dental hygiene by effective brushing will help keep such cavities at bay. You can try Oral-B Vitality Criss Cross Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush which achieves thorough clean with its 2D Cleaning Action. It oscillates and rotates to remove plaque better than regular toothbrushes. It also comes with a 2-minute professional timer, and it vibrates every 30 seconds to alert you to change the area that is being brushed.

  3. Receding gums:

    Gum recession is a common ageing-related dental condition in which the gums pull back and expose the roots of the teeth. There are many other reasons for this including smoking, aggressive tooth brushing, poor oral health and gum disease. Since the gums are essentially designed to ensure protection to the bone as well as the roots of the teeth, receding gums can cause the teeth to become sensitive to sugar.

  4. Tooth-whitening treatments:

    Undergoing a tooth whitening treatment can heighten teeth sensitivity towards sugar. This is because tooth whiteners use a substance called hydrogen peroxide which needs to penetrate the tooth and access the dentin inside, making the teeth more sensitive.

  5. Gingivitis:

    Gum disease or gingivitis usually occurs due to the build-up of plaque and tartar, which can irritate gums and lead to infection, swelling, bleeding, inflammation, and sore gum tissue. That’s why gum disease is a high-risk factor for teeth sensitivity to sugar.

How to treat sugar sensitivity in teeth

There are several ways to treat sensitivity in teeth:

  • Sensitivity toothpaste:

    If the sensitivity issue is minor and there is only a little bit of enamel loss, then using a specially designed sensitivity toothpaste can help. These toothpastes coat the dentin tubules in the teeth, which are the microscopic tubes that extend from under the enamel to the dentin layer of the teeth.

    In addition to a sensitivity toothpaste, opting for a toothbrush that addresses the needs of sensitive teeth is essential too.Oral-B’s iO Series electric toothbrush comes with a Smart Pressure Sensor that guides you to use the right amount of pressure in different areas of your mouth. It is also equipped with six different brushing modes that include Sensitive and Super Sensitive to suit your needs.

  • Tooth bonding:

    You may need to go in for a tooth bonding in case the tooth enamel is severely eroded. Consult your dentist who can gauge whether you need bonding and can fix a tooth-colored resin material to your teeth.

  • Teeth filling:

    If your sensitivity is caused by cavities, then the best way to treat the sensitivity is by getting those cavities filled by a dental professional.

  • Scaling:

    In the case of periodontal disease or gingivitis, you might need deep cleaning or scaling, which entails scraping the plaque from the teeth. The dentist may also prescribe a round of antibiotics for the same. Receding gums can also be treated in the same way, however, if it is severe then surgical procedures such as grafting may be recommended by the dental professional.

  • Avoid aggravating foods and drinks:

    Sensitivity after a tooth whitening procedure is temporary in most cases - make sure you avoid sweets as well as cold and hot beverages for a few days till healing takes place.

  • Sensitivity in the teeth is treatable, but one must see the dentist at the right time to avoid further tooth damage. If you have tooth pain that does not go away even after a week of using a sensitive toothpaste, or if your gums are puffy, swollen, white, or bleeding, or if you have lost a filling, then it is better to consult the dentist.

    While you are undergoing treatment for sensitive teeth, it is super important to take care of oral health. Brush twice a day using a superior dental product such as Oral-B electric toothbrush , and do not forget to floss. And take the guidance of your dental health professional.

    Read more about how to brush your teeth and other oral care tips.