If every bite of your favorite meal feels more like pain than pleasure, that’s a sign that something is wrong.
You can’t really rest your teeth, and there are no muscles in your teeth or gums that can be sore from overuse. Tooth pain is a sign that something has gone awry. It may be something that you can remedy at home, but there’s also a chance that a trip to the dentist is on the horizon.
Start by Eliminating Food as the Cause
Some foods can make your mouth hurt. Very spicy foods can irritate your gums, making chewing painful. Tough, chewy cuts of meat can overtax and wear down your whole mouth. Undercooked vegetables may be harder to get down, and crunchy hard candies can damage your teeth when you choose to bite through them.
If you’re chewing something sugary, especially if it’s sugary and cold, your teeth may be telling you that you have a cavity or tooth decay. It may not hurt when you eat or drink something less sugary at room temperature. Listen to what the ice cream is telling you.
Is This Happening to a Child?
Baby teeth often hurt when chewing because they’re coming loose. Permanent teeth are making their way out of the gums, and this process usually causes some discomfort.
If your child is experiencing pain when they eat and there’s nothing wrong with the primary teeth in question, your child may just have to wait it out. Incorporate more soft foods into his or her diet and use a topical oral numbing cream safe for children in accordance with the package directions.
This pain often gets worse before it gets better. Once the baby tooth has completely come out, there may be a small window of healing time before the pain completely stops.
If your child is open to the idea of expediting the process, encourage them to wiggle the loose tooth with their tongue to encourage it to come out sooner. Biting down on sterile gauze can help to stop the bleeding that’s natural when a loose tooth has come out or is about to do so.
Just make sure your child resists the temptation to put their fingers in their mouth. To do so will only introduce harmful bacteria.
One of the most common causes of tooth pain when chewing is enamel erosion. Enamel erosion can happen to everyone. Over time, the things we eat and drink slowly wear away at the enamel on our teeth. Plaque that hasn’t been fully removed will give bacteria a chance to weaken the structure of our teeth, compromising our enamel.
Tooth bleaching products are another common culprit. Whitening treatments and toothpastes are often loaded with hydrogen peroxide. Peroxide attempts (usually unsuccessfully) to remove stains from the teeth by penetrating the enamel and encapsulating stains on the dentin of the tooth.
Nothing can break through your enamel without damaging it, leaving behind weaker teeth in desperate need of minerals.
People who love acidic or sugary foods and drinks are also prone to enamel erosion. Acid works by itself to wear away at tooth enamel. Sugar works to feed bacteria who then turn that sugar into acid, expelling it directly onto your enamel in a thick layer of plaque.
Cavities or Tooth Decay
Cavities or tooth decay will cause varying levels of pain when chewing. A cavity may only react to sweet, cold, or hot foods. This is especially true if the cavity is new and small. Tooth decay or broken teeth will react to almost everything you chew. The nerves of the teeth have been compromised and the structure has become porous, so everything you put in your mouth will cause you pain.
If you can see evidence of a cavity or tooth decay, call your dentist. He or she will schedule you as soon as possible.
Ask your dentist if you can use an at-home temporary filling kit to stop the pain until your next appointment. These kits are very inexpensive, usually less than $5. The filling material is premixed in a small container. You use the supplied applicator to pack the temporary filling into the cavity or broken tooth. Let the filling set before you eat or drink.
These fillings are not designed to be long term solutions, but they can be lifesavers if you’ll be waiting to see the dentist for a few days. Don’t use them as a substitute for proper dental care.
Gingivitis typically only causes gum pain. Periodontitis can cause pain in the gums and the teeth. Advanced gum disease will cause the gums to recede, exposing the sensitive root of the tooth. Infection can spread through the gum tissue and into the jawbones.
If you believe you may have gum disease, contact a dentist immediately. You’ll need to work quickly to get the infection under control and maximize your chances of successful gum grafts, tissue membrane inserts, or dental root planing.
Some dental infections are easy to spot. Visible abscess or seepage are a giveaway for dental infection. Some infections are hidden below the gumline near the tooth’s root. These types of infections usually affect the teeth near the source.
If only a few teeth in a row hurt when you chew, you may have an infection. If you have a fever or if you see drainage, go to the emergency room. If you’re in mild pain and you cannot see visible signs of infection, call your dentist.
Strengthening Your Teeth and Preventing Cavities
If your enamel is eroded or you fear that cavities may be forming, you should use a toothpaste that will remineralize your weakened enamel. Ingredients like coral calcium provide your teeth with the calcium they need to stay strong, and trace minerals like phosphorus provide the support that calcium needs to fortify enamel.
Xylitol is a natural sugar alternative used to sweeten toothpaste. It’s not the kind of sugar that bacteria want to eat, so it won’t contribute to cavities or tooth decay. Xylitol is unique from every other sweetener in the sense that it’s designed to protect your teeth. Xylitol leaves behind a harmless film on your teeth. This film seals in the minerals from your toothpaste while repelling bacteria who will attempt to establish plaque on your teeth.
The barrier created by xylitol will naturally wear off as you eat and drink. You can use gum or mints sweetened with xylitol throughout the day to top off the barrier and keep your teeth safe until it’s time for your pre-bed brushing.
Destroying Bacteria That Cause Gum Disease, Infection, and Tooth Decay
Bad bacteria are the cause of just about every dental health problem. They cause tartar, plaque gum disease, cavities, tooth decay, bad breath, and dental infections. The whole purpose of brushing your teeth is to prevent these ailments. The only problem with most conventional toothpastes is that they were never designed to kill bacteria. They’re only designed to remove bacteria.
Toothpaste formulas used to contain ingredients like triclosan until the FDA began to heavily doubt their effectiveness and the EPA discovered that triclosan waste can convert to chloroform when it reaches the water supply. This essentially took triclosan off the table. Not many valuable alternatives rose to the occasion.
One of the safest bacteria-killing toothpaste and mouthwash ingredients is nano silver solution. Nano silver solution is small natural silver particles that are designed to rip electrons away from the walls of bacteria cells. The bacteria then implode, rendered useless by their lack of a proper membrane.
Nano silver is friendly to good bacteria and is also non-toxic. Numerous studies, including several reviewed by the FDA, have deemed nano silver as a safe and effective antibacterial solution for oral health products. It won’t build up in your system, and it won’t turn into dangerous gasses.
Using nano silver toothpaste in conjunction with nano silver mouthwash will double down on your results. Anything you miss when you brush your teeth will be damaged and swept away by the mouthwash. There’s no such thing as being too careful when it comes to bad oral bacteria.
Don’t take chances with your oral health. You only have one set of natural permanent teeth to last you a lifetime.
If your teeth hurt when you chew, it’s best to see your dentist. They will be able to spot any causes for concern.
Using great dental hygiene practices in conjunction with your dentist’s advice will help you keep your teeth and gums healthy for decades to come.