Have you ever bitten into something sugary and noticed an aching feeling in your teeth? Understanding why certain types of sweets hurt your teeth can help you figure out how to stop the issue.
Understanding the Different Types of Sweets
Before getting into all the details of why sweets hurt your teeth, it's important to understand the different types of sweets. Figuring out which types of sugary items are causing discomfort can help you identify potential dental issues.
Ways Different Sweets Cause Pain
- Hard candies and lollipops: These stay in your mouth for a while, so the sugar has plenty of time to coat all your teeth. You might feel a dull ache throughout your entire mouth.
- Sticky sweets and gummies: These tend to stick to molars and gums. You may notice sore teeth a few hours later or twinges of pain in specific spots.
- Fruit juice: Fruit juice often causes a sudden, sharp pain because the cold acidity shocks sensitive teeth.
- Carbonated soft drinks: Many people report a stinging feeling in their teeth or gums when they drink carbonated drinks. This is due to the high acidity of the drink.
Sweets You Need to Avoid
One of the main things to consider is whether the sugary food is acidic. Things with tangy citrus juice, artificial "sour" flavors, or bubbly carbonation can weaken the enamel coating on the teeth. The other thing it's important to avoid is anything gooey or sticky, like gummy bears, caramels, or taffy.
It's also essential to consider the type of sweetener used in a sweet. Check the ingredients to see if it contains problematic fillers or other ingredients. Corn syrup is particularly dangerous, since it can affect the teeth without even making a food seem all that sweet. When possible, try to pick sweets without natural sugars. Substitutes like xylitol can be safer for your teeth.
Why Sweets Are So Harmful to Your Teeth
The main problem with sugar is that it feeds bacteria that produce acidic byproducts. These eat away at the minerals in your teeth, causing them to weaken. Even if you cannot see a difference, the demineralized enamel isn't strong enough to fully protect the sensitive interior of your teeth.
If bacteria concentrate in one spot in your mouth, they can completely destroy your enamel. This decay causes cavities to form. Once you have a cavity, tooth pain becomes more constant. You can have a dull ache all the time, and when you eat or drink, you can experience sudden, sharp pain.
Your teeth aren't the only thing damaged by sugar-loving bacteria. The bacteria also cause irritation to the gums. Your gums can become sore, inflamed, and overly sensitive. If you do not treat gingivitis, your gums can start to recede. This causes even more pain because it exposes sensitive tooth roots to the air.
How to Treat a Toothache Caused by Eating Swets
To protect your teeth after eating sweets, it's a good idea to rinse your mouth out with water right after eating sugar. Wait at least 15 minutes and then use a toothbrush or mouthwash to clean your teeth more thoroughly. This can help give your teeth time to remineralize. If you're experiencing repeated pain, you need to see a dentist. They can check your mouth for cavities and prescribe medication to treat gingivitis.