Why Do My Teeth Hurt When I Eat Sweets?


If your teeth hurt when you eat sweets, it’s important not to ignore this side effect. It could be a sign that there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.

Most people can indulge in sweet treats occasionally, but for some people it comes with varying levels of tooth pain. If sweets and sugary treats leave you wincing in pain, you’re not alone. This is known as tooth sensitivity, and it could be caused by a wide range of factors, including tooth decay and enamel damage.

Let's delve into why your teeth might hurt when you indulge in sugary delights and what you can do about it.

What causes tooth sensitivity

What causes tooth sensitivity?

IF your teeth hurt every time you eat sweets, it’s time to book a checkup with your dentist to discover the underlying reason. The most common causes of tooth sensitivity include:

  • Dental decay – One of the most common reasons for tooth pain after consuming sweets is dental decay, also known as cavities. When you consume sugary foods or beverages, the bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugars and produce acids that erode the tooth enamel. Over time, this can lead to the formation of cavities, which expose the sensitive inner layers of the tooth, causing pain and discomfort, particularly when exposed to sweet or acidic substances.

  • Enamel erosion – This condition is characterised by the gradual wearing away of the tooth enamel, and can also contribute to tooth sensitivity to sweets. Consuming acidic foods and beverages, including many sweet treats such as citrus fruits and soft drinks, can weaken the enamel over time, making the teeth more prone to sensitivity and discomfort, especially when exposed to sugar.

  • Gum recession – This condition is often caused by factors such as gum disease, aggressive brushing, or genetic predisposition, which can expose the sensitive root surfaces of the teeth. When sweets come into contact with these exposed roots, it can trigger discomfort or pain, as the roots lack the protective enamel covering found on the crowns of the teeth.

  • Tooth fractures or cracks – Fractured or cracked teeth can also lead to sensitivity, particularly when consuming sweets. These fractures may allow sugars to penetrate the tooth and irritate the sensitive nerve tissues inside, resulting in sharp or throbbing pain. You might not be able to see these hairline cracks in your teeth, but they can create the ideal breeding ground for enamel-attacking bacteria.

  • Dental restorations – If you have dental fillings, crowns, or other restorations that are worn, damaged, or improperly fitted, they may leave gaps or spaces where sugars can accumulate and cause irritation to the underlying tooth structure, leading to sensitivity when eating sweets.

  • Bruxism, or teeth grinding – Chronic teeth grinding or clenching, known as bruxism, can wear down the enamel and contribute to tooth sensitivity. Grinding motions can also cause microfractures in the teeth, making them more sensitive to sweet stimuli.

What can you do about tooth sensitivity

What can you do about tooth sensitivity?

If you experience tooth pain when eating sweets, it's essential to address the underlying cause and not just treat the sensitivity. A trip to the dentist can help you to identify the root cause of your issue. You can also try to following home care tips:

Maintain good oral hygiene

Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, and visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and professional cleanings to prevent cavities and gum disease. This is the most effective way to safeguard your teeth against many common issues.

Modify your diet

If sugary snacks and drinks hurt your teeth, it’s time to consider cutting them out. Limit your consumption of sugary and acidic foods and beverages, and try to minimise snacking between meals. Rinse your mouth with water after consuming sweets to help neutralise acids and reduce their harmful effects on your teeth.

Try a remineralisation toothpaste

Try a remineralisation toothpaste

Consider using toothpaste specifically formulated for sensitive teeth, which can help block pain signals and provide relief from sensitivity over time. Remineralisation toothpaste helps to close the microscopic holes in your teeth that leave the sensitive inner parts exposed.

Seek professional help

If your tooth sensitivity persists or worsens, it’s time to visit your dentist. A little bit of sensitivity can be normal and nothing to worry about, but it could also be a sign of something that needs to be addressed by your dentist. Depending on the underlying cause, treatment options may include dental fillings, fluoride treatments, dental bonding, or other interventions to address the issue effectively.

Closing thoughts

Tooth pain when consuming sweets can be a sign of underlying dental issues that require attention. By understanding the potential causes of sensitivity and taking proactive steps to maintain good oral hygiene and address dental problems promptly, you can enjoy your favourite sweet treats without the discomfort. Remember, regular dental care is key to keeping your smile healthy and pain-free for years to come.

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