Why do sugary foods cause pain in my teeth?

Pain from sugary foods is not a normal occurrence. If you are experiencing this, it can be a result of sensitive teeth from receding gums. When your gums begin to recede, it can expose more sensitive areas of the teeth. Sugar collecting in that area can lead to tooth decay and cavities. 

If you are experiencing this pain, see your dentist. This can be an early indicator of gum disease. Timely treatment is important, as gum disease can be reversed and prevented when caught early, but more progressive stages of gum disease can be highly problematic.
In a normal healthy dentition, sugary foods should not cause pain. If you are experiencing tooth pain while eating sweets, it could be a result of a number of things. Causes can be gum recession to tooth decay -- both of which are treated quite differently. It is important to visit the dentist to get the proper diagnosis and necessary treatment.

When sugary foods cause pain in teeth then you could be developing cavities in your teeth. Cavities form when there is a breakdown of tooth structure due the increase in acidity that forms as a byproduct of the breakdown of sugary substances by the bacteria in your mouth. Maintaining a good oral hygiene regimen each time you eat can help to decrease the risk of getting cavities. See you dentist regularly for prevention and early detection.

When you consume sugary foods and drinks such as cookies, cake, candy, and soda, you may feel pain in your teeth. That's because the acids from these foods, when broken down, can affect your mouth. Fermentable carbohydrates -- which usually make up sweet treats -- combine with the bacteria in your mouth to form acids. The acids in turn cause demineralization, a process in which the minerals inside the tooth enamel are dissolved. So if you sip soda throughout the day, the bacteria in your mouth may be constantly producing acid. In the short term, this can cause sensitivity. In the long term, it can lead to tooth decay.
Jonathan B. Levine, DMD

Sweet sensitivity is when something sugary goes in your mouth, you feel an immediate painful response to it. And, when it's removed, the pain disappears just as quickly.

  • THE CAUSES: It could be caused by early decay in the tooth, or it could signal some root exposure (from the gum having receded off the root, leaving its surface exposed).
  • WORRY LEVEL: Not too high. Sweet sensitivity is the precursor to all the other sensitivities. If your teeth can't handle biting into a candy bar but are just fine with ice cream and hot chocolate, consider yourself lucky, but also consider having your dentist check the area out.
  • TREATMENT: Usually a good cleaning clears the problem.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.