Have you ever felt a sharp pain after the first bite of food? Or have you experienced any pain in your teeth or gums that just came out of a sudden, and you could not find out why? You are experiencing tooth and gum aches, and they can be really annoying. Believe us, we know!
What you should know is that teeth and gum aches can actually be early signs of something severe. In other words, they may serve as a warning before permanent damage occurs. Here are some of the possible causes.
Teeth grinding, clinically known as bruxism, can cause teeth to wear out and lose enamel. Most people grind their teeth when they are stressed, but can also be an involuntary move when they are asleep. In order to know for sure, ask the person who shares your room to point it out if they ever notice a sharp, squeaky noise in the middle of the night.
Aside from sudden teeth and gum ache, people with bruxism also tend to have aching jaws, headaches, and facial/neck soreness. For those experiencing this, Dr Jacquelyn from Tiew Dental advises you to wear splints and mouth guards at night to protect your teeth. However, you may need to be referred to a therapist to help you deal with stress or anxiety if it causes bruxism1,2.
Your teeth’s enamel layer is a crystal structure that can deteriorate when exposed to hot and cold temperatures:
- The soft inner layer protected by enamel is called dentine.
- Within the dentine are dentinal tubules, which transmit impulses to the dental pulp.
- When the enamel erodes, these tubules will be exposed, allowing heat and cold to reach the nerves inside. This results in teeth sensitivity and/or pain.
When you chew ice, your teeth will cool down quickly and heat up over and over. This makes the enamel expand and contract, which can result in the formation of micro fractures in your teeth. If you constantly chew on ice, eventually those micro fractures will become more expansive and cause sensitivity, pain or worse — a cracked tooth syndrome1,2,3.
We protect our skin and eyes from fluctuating temperatures, but we are often unaware of the damage to our teeth when there is a change in temperature. Temperature changes can cause enamel to crack. Extreme hot weather may cause enamel and dentine to contract and expand in alternating rates, which can contribute to more sensitive teeth.
Drink room temperature or cool drinks instead of ice-cold water to help beat the heat. Break your ice-chewing habit, as tempting as it may be. You may use a desensitising toothpaste or make an appointment with a dentist if your teeth or gum suddenly aches when you eat something hot or cold4,5.
If you experience sudden tooth ache, and maybe even unprecedented sensitivity to heat, cold or sweets, you might have cavities, which is also known as tooth decay. This means that you have experienced a loss of enamel due to the acids produced by bacteria that forms holes on the teeth. Fret not, as it may not be too late, just yet. It is advisable to see a dentist as soon as possible when you start experiencing frequent gum and tooth aches to get the right treatment6.
Periodontitis, also referred to as gum disease, is a common problem that causes mouth pain. It is a serious gum infection that damages soft tissue and supporting bone. It is typically caused by poor oral hygiene, but there are other factors that can contribute to this problem, which include hormonal changes, medications, sickness, smoking habits or genetics.
There are some warning signs of gum disease — sore, swollen or bleeding gums; loose teeth; receding gums; and formation of deep pockets in gums. It is important to visit your dentist if you have any of these signs or symptoms as soon as possible before other complications like formation of pus or loss of teeth occur7.
As innocent as teeth and gum aches sound, they can become a problem especially if they appear out of a sudden. Now that you are aware of the causes, here’s what you should do next:
1. If any one of these feel familiar, pay a visit to your dentist as soon as possible to get it diagnosed.
2. If they have yet to affect you, protect your teeth by switching to a toothpaste for gum and teeth! Preventing future oral problems is always possible when you use the right gum and teeth toothpaste!
Start being more conscious of your oral health today!