Why Does My Tooth Hurt When I Drink Something Cold or Hot

Why Does My Tooth Hurt When I Drink Something Cold or Hot

Most of us are all too familiar with the sharp, shooting pain of biting into an ice cream. 

Or maybe we’ve begun to feel that after a sip of coffee. For some of us, this problem will persist, and start to interfere with everyday life. 

If this is you, it is important to know what is going on, and when to ask for help!

In this article, we will explain the various causes for tooth pain in response to hot or cold drinks. We’ll also give you some pointers on where you can seek treatment, and how to avoid this issue. 

Let's get into it!

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity 

If you are experiencing a shooting pain in your teeth when drinking either hot, or cold drinks, you are experiencing what is called tooth sensitivity.

There are numerous causes of tooth sensitivity, some of which are cause for concern, and others which are easily treatable. 

Tooth Decay and Cavities

Tooth decay is one of the most common, and often avoidable causes of tooth sensitivity. 

Tooth decay occurs when the bacteria that form plaque on our teeth are not cleaned off properly. 

This allows them to stay on our teeth, where they produce acids which slowly eat away at the enamel layer. This can result in cavities, or small holes forming in the teeth. 

The enamel becomes demineralized and damaged, exposing the layer underneath, called the dentin. 

The dentin layer contains small nerves, which, when exposed to hot and cold substances, send pain messages to the brain. 

How to Prevent Tooth Decay and Cavities

Luckily, tooth decay can be prevented. The best way to prevent decay is to brush your teeth morning and night, and floss at least once a day, before brushing. 

This ensures that the plaque is cleaned off your teeth, preventing damage to your enamel. 

Acidic food choices and vigorous brushing practices are two common sources of this wear and tear, which emphasizes the necessity for a decent toothpaste for sensitive teeth that not only treats the underlying causes of sensitivity but also relieves its symptoms.

Regular brushing should be done with a toothpaste which is made by experts. Consider toothpaste such as the Boka n-Ha toothpaste which helps remineralize teeth and tackles plaque. 

If you see holes in your teeth, it may be a sign that activities are formed. It is important to seek dental attention to get these filled, before the problem worsens. 

Gum Recession

Gum recession, as the name suggests, occurs when the gum begins to pull back from the tooth. 

This can occur for a number of reasons, but mainly occurs when the gum is unhealthy, and begins to pull back. 

The pulled back gum allows your tooth’s root to be exposed, which contains several small nerves that respond to pain.

This makes your teeth very sensitive to hot or cold beverages. 

Gum recession can result from: Gum disease due to poor dental hygiene, very aggressive brushing, genetic conditions, and tobacco use. 

How to Prevent Gum Recession 

Regular dental cleanings and examinations are probably one of the greatest ways to stop receding gums. A dentist can spot early gum disease indicators even if you have no symptoms. Also, maintaining good oral hygiene practices can help prevent gum disease. This includes flossing daily, which is proven to reduce gum disease

If you are a smoker, the best thing you can do to avoid gum disease, and eventual recession is to try and quit smoking. 

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Grinding your teeth, or bruxism, is a common condition. Many people experience tooth grinding, or clenching of the jaw, in response to stress or anxiety. 

For the majority of people, they will be unaware that they do this. However they may have noticed waking up with a sore jaw for no apparent reason. 

Over a period of time, grinding your teeth wears away the outer layer of your teeth, called the enamel. 

If the grinding is strong enough, some people can also cause microfractures in the enamel. 

Both of these things expose the underlying dentin, which contains nerves. These nerves are responsible for the pain felt when consuming hot or cold drinks. 

How to Prevent Grinding Your Teeth 

Tooth grinding, like all habits, is difficult to break. 

By taking care of themselves, those with primary bruxism may be able to lessen or avoid the symptoms. One thing they could try is: Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and chewing gum, as this could lead to additional grinding or wear and tear. Applying a small amount of heat on the jaw to ease discomfort and tension. Try to lower unnecessary stress and manage inevitable stress. 

The best treatment is usually a reduction in stress, which is, as you can imagine, easier said than done.

In saying this, tooth guards are a great way to protect your enamel, and can be fitted by dentists. They are often worn at night to protect your teeth while you sleep. 

Cracked or Chipped Teeth 

Cracked or chipped teeth are common causes of tooth sensitivity, particularly in children or people who play sports. 

This type of tooth damage can also happen in people who have weaker enamel, or who grind their teeth. 

Damage to the enamel can expose the underlying layer of the tooth, which contains nerve fibers. 

When these nerve fibers come into contact with hot or cold drinks, they can result in a shooting pain. 

How to Prevent Cracked/Chipped Teeth 

The best way to prevent cracked or chipped teeth is to wear a mouthguard when playing contact sports. 

You can also avoid very hard foods which can cause teeth to crack. 

Over Whitening 

Unfortunately, over whitening, either at home, or at the dentist’s office, can cause tooth sensitivity. 

Some whitening products contain chemicals such as peroxides which, when overused, can cause damage to the enamel. 

Enamel damage due to bleaching agents sometimes found in whitening products can expose your tooth’s nerves, leaving them sensitive to hot and cold drinks. 

How to Prevent Over Whitening 

The best thing to do is to follow the instructions on the whitening product, and to not use is more than advised.

 If you are beginning to feel tooth sensitivity, then give your teeth a break between treatments. 

It can also be best to opt for more gentle whitening products which are free from peroxides, such as Boka’s Whitening Toothpaste. 

Poor Diet 

One of the most frequently overlooked, yet easiest to change causes of tooth sensitivity is a diet that is rich in sugars, and acidic foods. 

Foods which are rich in sugar and acids can contribute to enamel erosion which quickly exposes the underlying tooth, resulting in remarkable tooth sensitivity. 

Sugars feed the acid causing bacteria found in our mouths that erode the enamel, whilst acidic foods start to wear down enamel instantly. 

How to Prevent a Poor Diet 

If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, or know you are prone to experiencing this, it is important to avoid sugary and acidic foods. 

This includes things like sodas, lollies and sometimes citrus fruits. If you do consume these things, make sure to have a glass of water afterward

Oral Care Tips

As you may have noticed, tooth sensitivity, which often manifests itself as pain when consuming hot or cold drinks, is often caused by poor oral hygiene. 

Although not all causes of sensitivity can be avoided entirely, good oral hygiene prevents many causes of tooth sensitivity. 

Here are our top tips: 

  • Brush at least twice daily: Brushing should be done with soft bristles brushes and gently, in order to protect your enamel. 

If you’re someone who likes using electric toothbrushes, we recommend our electric toothbrush with built-in sonic technology

  • Floss once a day: Flossing your teeth daily helps to remove plaque build up from between your teeth as well as gum diseases, which are both contributors to tooth sensitivity.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months: Regularly replacing your toothbrush ensures that the bristles on your toothbrush are in good condition and are able to effectively clean your teeth. 
  • Limit sugary foods and drinks: Sugary food and drinks can feed bacteria which stay on your teeth and damage your enamel. It is therefore important to avoid very sugary foods, especially after brushing your teeth. 
  • Limit acidic food and drinks: Acidic food and drinks can contribute to tooth sensitivity by eroding the enamel layer that protects the underlying tooth. 
  • It is best to avoid very acidic food and drinks if you are hoping to protect our teeth and avoid sensitivities. 

  • Avoid smoking and tobacco products: Smoking and tobacco products not only stain our teeth but damage our gums, which can contribute to gum diseases and eventual tooth sensitivities and disease. 
  • Schedule regular dental checkups: Regularly visiting your dentist (once every 6-12 months) ensures that your teeth are being well looked after and any problems are dealt with before they become bigger (and more expensive) issues. 
  • Drink plenty of water: Drinking water is a great way to ensure your teeth remain free of food debris throughout the day, which can contribute to plaque formation and enamel damage. 
  • Clean your tongue regularly: You may be surprised to know that your tongue is a hang-out spot for bacteria. 
  • Cleaning your tongue when you brush your teeth is a great way to protect your smile, and make sure your breath stays fresh all day.

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