Why Do I Have Sensitive Teeth?

sensitive teethDo you have sensitive teeth? Do you get sharp pains from eating or drinking something cold or hot? Sometimes teeth just feel a little sensitive from time to time, but certain sensitivities can be signs of trouble.

If you have an over all reaction to something very cold, especially if that cold induced pain is last only for a second, you probably don’t have a reason to worry. But if the pain is persistent or confined to a specific tooth or area of your mouth that may be a sign of a degraded filling or cavity.

If you have sensitivity to heat or biting pressure there may be some infection in the tooth. If you are experiencing an ache in your mouth it may be your gums causing the issue, not your teeth. If gums have receded they leave the roots exposed.  The roots don’t have the quality of protective enamel as the crowns of the teeth so they’re more sensitive.

Some things that can cause sensitive teeth are over use of mouthwash or whitening products, dead or dying nerves, grinding of teeth, serous gum issues or even recent dental work. Eating lots of acidic foods can lead to loss of tooth enamel and cause tooth sensitivity as well.

If you have any sensitivity issues, be sure to talk to your dentist about them so that you will know if it is serious or not. The solutions are usually pretty simple, especially if addressed early.

You Asked: Why Are My Teeth So Sensitive?|Time

Dental Erosion

dental erosionDental erosion is when the tooth enamel is worn away by exposure to acid.  Erosion of tooth enamel can result in pain as it leaves the tooth exposed and sensitive. Our tooth enamel becomes softer anytime we eat or drink anything acidic, but this is normally canceled out by our saliva.  Saliva restores the natural balance in the mouth as long as there is enough time to repair between acidic attacks.

A recent study has found that soft drinks are the most significant factor in the severity of dental erosion. Anything with an acidity level lower than 5.5 can damage the teeth. Diet and regular soda, other carbonated drinks, sports drinks and fruit juices are all harmful to the teeth if they are consumed too often. Sodas and fruit juices also contain a lot of sugar so they can lead to tooth decay as well as dental erosion.

Dental erosion doesn’t always need to be treated.  If you visit the dentist regularly to get cleanings and exams, your dental team can usually prevent the problem from getting worse. It is important to keep up a good oral hygiene routine, but also be more cautious about the foods and drinks we consume.

Soda And Fruit Juice Are Biggest Culprits In Dental Erosion|Medical News Today

The Ancient Story Of Tooth Worms

tooth wormsIn the ancient times, it was a firmly believed that toothaches were due to worms that eat away the teeth right from the top to the roots. Old literature and scripts from Egypt, China, Sumeria and India are recorded proof of the fact that people at that time believed in the concept of tooth worms.

During those days dental treatment was barbaric and involved extremely painful methods for the removal of tooth worms. The most dangerous fact was that these treatment methods could endanger one’s life as well. Also, barbers were considered to be the forefathers of former dentists and they used to do work like pulling out teeth along with their profession. Here are some peculiar ways in which toothaches or tooth problems were treated during those times.

  • If the cavities were small, ancient dentists used to treat them with a smoke that was formed by low-power narcotics in an emulsion. To form the smoke iron rods were heated. This was quite a dangerous act as hot iron can pose serious injury. Another risk was the accidental inhalation of the emulsion by the patient leading to extensive respiratory injuries.
  • In some places, certain herbs were used to treat dental cavities.
  • An interesting fact was that dental cavities were a rarity in those days.
  • There was no other way to treat a tooth with a large cavity than to pull it out. Imagine a tooth being pulled out without numbing your gums properly! How breathtakingly painfully would that be! The primitive anesthetizing was mainly done through the administration of alcohol which could be a distilled type or grain type.  One or two shots of whiskey would just be enough to distract the patient but there was no provision to make the procedure painless. In some countries, dentists used opium to get the similar effect.

During those years sugar was not considered a main culprit for dental decay or cavities. People thought that teeth just became decayed at some point or another in each person’s life and nothing could be done about it. About a thousand years later, Pierre Fauchard, a dentist by profession, was the first one to bring up the fact that the story of tooth worms was a myth and had no factual information to justify its existence. He was the first one to show the world that dental decay can be avoided and is not destiny that one must succumb to. He is considered the father of modern dentistry for his praiseworthy contribution to the world of dentistry. Today, we know how a dental cavity is formed and what can cause it. Due to the advancing dental technology the concept of tooth worms remains just a fairy tale and nothing more than that!

Graphene: The Future Dental Decay Terminator!

grapheneDental problems are one of the most common ailments that affects 90 percent of the population worldwide. The severity of dental problems may vary from things like bad breath, dental decay or gum problems. When it comes to dental decay, the main reason for it is attack of bacteria in the mouth. The evidence of plaque and tartar on teeth surfaces irritate the gums and cause gum problems like gingivitis. Prolonged and untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis. When this happens, many dentists recommend their patients take a course of antibiotics to get rid of the problem with decay-causing bacteria. The bad news is that repeated and relentless use of antibiotics has led to the development of resistance in these bacteria.

Because of this predicament, scientists have discovered a new, unique material called graphene oxide. They have found that this compound can fight against certain bacterial strains and protect the teeth from decay. Their findings have been published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

Graphene oxide is the term used to describe carbon nanosheets that are filled with oxygen groups. The scientists found that graphene oxide can curb the growth of some specific strains of bacteria. The best part is that the harm caused to our body’s cells in the process of bacterial destruction is minimal. Now the job was to determine whether graphene oxide is effective against decay causing bacteria or not. For this purpose they tested three different bacterial species which are associated with dental decay or gum problems. Graphene oxide acted on the cell walls or cell membranes of these bacteria and slowed down their growth rate. The lowering of the growth rate diminishes the rate of disease progress. This effect of graphene oxide was considered as a great achievement for the researchers as they found this landmark of treatment of dental diseases.

But, this study does need the support of more factual information. Several other tests and examination will be conducted to get the desired results. We can keep our fingers crossed that the day is not far off when we will be able to invent or discover a true terminator of dental and gum diseases!

Salivary Mucins: True Teeth Protectors

salivary mucinsOur saliva provides a unique function for our bodies. It protects our teeth. We may not have even realized how important these salivary mucins are for us. Lack of saliva produces difficulty in speech and a condition called dry mouth. Low production of saliva has serious consequences like oral ulcers and tooth decay. For those who wear dentures, the presence of optimum quantity and quality of saliva is essential. To understand the degree of severity we need to get a deeper understanding of the ways saliva works within our mouth.

  • Saliva is a clear, slightly sticky liquid and contains mostly water with a small percentage of mucins. Mucins are large glycoproteins that are responsible to give a slippery feel to saliva due to its gel like features. Recent studies have shown that these mucins protect the teeth from Streptococcus mutans (organisms known to cause tooth decay).
  • These mucins carry out their function of inhibiting the action of S. mutans in a different way. They neither kill the bacteria nor reduce the level of the bacteria. Mucins keep the bacteria suspension so that the bacteria are unable to form a biofilm on the teeth. S. mutans can function only through a biofilm as a biofilm helps the bacteria to be in constant touch with the teeth and digest tooth structure.
  • Biofilm is the term used to describe the slimy layer on the teeth that is composed of plenty of bacteria and the layer remains stuck onto the teeth surface through sticky substances secreted by the bacteria themselves. Once the bacteria are able to establish themselves on the teeth in the form of a biofilm they feed on leftover food particles and release acids in return. These acids demineralise the tooth structure and lead to cavities finally.
  • A report says that it is always ideal to enhance the immune response of the body rather than going for external applications of sealants or fluorides.
  • It has been found out that diseases like asthama, cystic fibrosis or ulcerative colitis have a strong link with problems related to mucin production. This is because mucins play a very critical role in the maintenance of healthy oral microbiota.

With all the above mentioned findings, it has been clear that salivary mucins are not simply particles that provide the gel-like consistency to saliva. They have the potential to influence the behavior of oral microbes.