Austin Smile Creations – Austin Dentist Blog

A blog about implant dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, general and family dentistry and a healthy living.

Archive for acidic beverages and teeth

Why Am I Having Tooth Pain?

I’ve spent plenty of time thinking about the meaning of the saying, “long are the days, and short are the years.” We are a busy people, aren’t we? While the days can seem long, certainly each year continues to fly by without regard. Simply, time continues to slip away from us. Pertaining to dental health, there are various occasions patients call and can’t believe the amount of time that’s passed since the last time they’ve been to a dentist. All too often we don’t think about our health, and often much less our oral health, because we are just too busy! When we do get around to making that ever-elusive dental appointment, it’s frequently pain that’s the motivator. But there are all classifications of pain that can be associated with both teeth and the bony structures surrounding them. It’s helpful to know the causes certain tooth pains may be related to, so we’ve enclosed a guide to identifying the possible origins of those pains.

Sensitivity to cold– There are a variety of reasons someone can be sensitive to cold, but the common reasons we see most often in our practice are related to malocclusion (bite not being aligned), clenching and grinding habits, recession that exposes root surfaces, and/or tooth fractures.

Sensitivity to hot– Sensitivity to hot can often be related to having new decay or recurring decay from an existing restoration that’s failing/failed, an infection, recession that exposes root surfaces, and/or tooth fractures. Sensitivity to hot is often combined with being sensitive to cold, sweets and/or pressure.

Sensitivity to pressure– There are different kinds of pressure pain that can be associated with an infection, malocclusion (bite not being aligned), clenching and grinding habits, and/or tooth fractures.

Sensitivity to sweets– The main contributing factor to pain linked to sweets is when we have new or recurring decay under an existing restoration that’s failing/failed. In other words, it’s often a cavity.

Many of these tooth pains can be combined with others, meaning you can be sensitive to hot, pressure, cold and sweets at the same time, and any combination in between. At Austin Smile Creations, not only do we encourage patients to identify the specific tooth or area the pain is coming from, but also recognize when the pain arises and for how long. Are you drinking cold water and feel a sharp pain along your gum line? You could have some exposed root surfaces. Do you avoid chewing on one side of your mouth because there’s too much pressure on the other? It could be the source of wear patterns from clenching and grinding your teeth.

So, what can you do about it? Tooth pain can be complicated, so the more information and monitoring you’ve done as the patient, the better chance a dentist has of identifying the source of the problem. Of course, in order for a dentist to properly diagnose pain-related symptoms, you need to call and make an appointment with your dentist, as there are diagnostic protocols to follow to rule in or rule out the source of the pain. Once the problem is diagnosed, your dentist can formulate an action plan. And the good news is there is always a solution! While proactive, preventative trips to the dentist are the best attempt to staying away from tooth pains, we know as much as anyone that life gets busy. Pain is often the reminder to stop and take the time to care for our selves and our health.

Sports Drinks – Good or Bad ?

There are pros and cons to everything. White sports drinks and energy drinks may boost your performance and keep you awake throughout the day, they too have their drawbacks when it comes to oral health.

We all are aware of the effects of sugar on your teeth. But what most of us don’t really pay attention to is the acid. Cavities form when bacteria in the mouth mixes with sugar, leading to decay. Erosion occurs when chemicals strip the mineral off the teeth. The consequences of the erosion are far worse than decay, because erosion affects all teeth at once. This causes hypersensitivity, discoloration and cracks on the teeth. Serious cases require crowns or even dentures if entire teeth have disintegrated.

Sports drinks contain high levels of acid that can cause tooth erosion as well as high levels of sugar. Sipping these drinks throughout the day increases the chances for trouble, as they could dissolve the entire tooth over time.

A variety of juices, teas, sodas ( including diet) are also high in acids. The Journal of Dentistry published a study which showed that orange juice decreased enamel hardness by 84 percent. Lemon, orange and grapefruit juice can strip away the enamel with their acidity too. Lemon juice tends to be the most erosive of them all.

In 2008 researchers at the University of Iowa’s College of Dentistry found that energy drinks and sports drinks, such as Gatorade and Red Bull, eroded the enamel more than soda and fruit juices.

So what is the solution to this problem? Should we avoid all those drinks alltogether? We believe that the key is moderation and some helpful practices to keep your teeth as safe as possible:

  • Drink the acidic beverage at once, instead of sipping it all day.
  • Use a straw to avoid the teeth from being immersed in liquid.
  • Substitute acidic beverages with water.
  • Rinse mouth with water after drinking acidic beverage instead of brushing. The bristles of the toothbrush may damage the enamel softened by the acid.
  • Consult your dentist on the best oral health solution that work for you lifestyle.

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