Tooth sensitivity isn’t uncommon. Some patients tend to have weaker teeth than others as a result of genetics, trauma to their teeth or bad habits such as poor diets, inadequate oral hygiene or tobacco use. While not every case of tooth sensitivity is a symptom of tooth decay, it is a good idea to have it checked out by your dentist to be sure. Most tooth sensitivity is temporary and is triggered by foods and drinks that are extremely hot or cold and/or contain a high amount of sugar. Chronic sensitivity to a variety of foods and drinks should be looked at by a dentist as it can be caused by tooth decay or another dental issue. Having sensitive teeth can be extremely uncomfortable and should be taken seriously, especially if it is negatively affecting one’s everyday life.
Whether this is your first bout with sensitive teeth or you’re experiencing another flare-up, it is a good idea to avoid the following foods and drinks that can trigger the pain and discomfort and make the sensitivity worse.
Ice Cream. This favorite dessert combines the double whammy of being cold and being packed with sugar. Those with sensitive teeth often lack the protective, enamel layer of their teeth, which exposes their teeth’s nerves to the extreme cold. The similar resulting pain and discomfort also happens with cold beverages and chewing ice.
Acidic Foods. Foods such as citrus and tomatoes that contain a high amount of acid can aggravate sensitive teeth as well as weaken the enamel further. Drinking fruit juice can also cause the same discomfort and tooth damage because it contains a high amount of sugar in addition to the acid.
Hard Candy. Lollipops, suckers, mints and other kinds of hard candy can chip teeth or scratch tooth enamel making teeth more sensitive, weak and more prone to decay.
Sticky Foods. Peanut butter, fruit snacks and sticky candies like toffee and caramel can leave tooth destroying sugar on the teeth, which can be bad news for those with sensitive teeth. The sugar stuck on and in between teeth can seep into the cracks and weak areas of the enamel and penetrate the underlying nerves of the dentin layer, increasing the discomfort of tooth sensitivity.
Ice. While chewing ice may be refreshing on a hot summer day and offers guilt-free, no calorie snack, the hardness of the ice can chip and scratch tooth enamel and the cold temperature of the ice can aggravate exposed tooth nerves that have resulted from sensitive teeth.
Soda. A refreshing Coke or root beer on a warm day may sound like the perfect companion to your refreshing salad or not-so-healthy pizza. However, soda, even diet soda has both acid and sugar which can lead to further destruction of one’s teeth and can heighten tooth sensitivity.
Coffee. Hot coffee can make the discomfort of one’s teeth sensitivity worse by the heat penetrating the weakened tooth enamel and the exposed nerves. Adding sugar to your coffee will make matters worse as the additional sugar will likely lead to further tooth damage, and therefore, worse tooth sensitivity.
Tooth sensitivity isn’t fun and the discomfort can range from mild inconvenience to almost debilitating pain. Whether or not one’s sensitive teeth is caused by tooth decay or not, certain foods and drinks can make one’s discomfort and sensitivity worse as well as weaken and cause more damage to one’s teeth.
While sensitive teeth are not always something to worry about, it is highly recommended that patients visit their dentist first and have their teeth looked at to be sure their sensitive teeth aren’t the result of tooth decay, a tooth abscess or another dental issue.