Your teeth are just a few tiny little parts of your body, but they have a giant impact on your quality of life.
When you don’t want to eat food that requires a lot of chewing because it might cause pain, or you avoid hot and cold beverages due to sensitivity, sometimes your dietary options can become limited.
In some cases, tooth pain might even disrupt your whole day and interrupt sleep at night.
If you are experiencing tooth pain, it’s time to get to the bottom of what might be causing it. Don’t brush your pain under the rug and assume it’s just something you have to deal with. Figuring out the root cause of your discomfort can get you on the right track to fixing it.
Here are some of the things that might be hurting your chompers:
If your gums start to recede, you won’t just notice the new look it gives your teeth. Over time, you may begin to experience tooth sensitivity and pain. Receding gums provide more opportunity for plaque and bacteria to damage your teeth.
Bacteria in your mouth can create acids that wear away tooth enamel and allow cavities to form. Tooth decay can cause pain, sensitivity and surface stains on the teeth. Good dental hygiene is crucial to prevent tooth decay. Brushing and flossing regularly helps keep sugary and starchy foods off the surface of the teeth, and fluoride helps with enamel repair.
“If your teeth hurt as a result of decay, do not ignore the pain,” says Scott Morely, dietary manager at Cedar Crest Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. “Without proper care, tooth decay can lead to loss of teeth and make it more difficult to eat healthy foods.”
You may not be aware that you are grinding your teeth, but if you wake up with a headache or sore jaw, there’s a good chance it is the culprit. Tooth grinding, or bruxism, is often the result of stress or tension, and it can happen during the day or night. It can wear down the surface of the teeth and cause pain or even broken teeth.
A broken tooth can be just as bad as it sounds, especially if a person experienced trauma such as an accident. It can also be as minor as a small crack. A fracture is a break in the enamel of the tooth, and more serious fractures can cause pain when the tooth pulp is exposed to food and bacteria.
An abscessed tooth is about as much fun as getting a root canal. The pulp in your tooth’s root can become infected and cause swelling in the gums, and you might notice pain while you eat. When this happens, it’s time for the canals to be cleaned out and sealed — also known as a root canal.
Tooth pain is not a minor issue. It can put a real damper on your quality of life and can even lead to serious health issues. Talk to your dentist and figure out an action plan if you have tooth pain that just won’t go away.
A version of this article was published by The Daily Herald. It has been republished here with permission.