Why Do I Have a Toothache? | Cheeeese
Why do I have a toothache?
Drink a cold coffee, enjoy an ice cream… Our taste buds love it! Our teeth, much less. According to studies, 15 to 57% of the population suffer from dental hypersensitivity caused by thermal stimuli (cold most often, but also sometimes hot) or mechanical stimuli such as brushing teeth.
People with dental hypersensitivity describe twitching, pain similar to electric shocks (more or less strong). They often occur at the junction between the gum and the tooth. A very specific area called the neck and particularly sensitive. "Dentin, the inner layer of the tooth, is a tissue made up of thousands of channels allowing conduction to the nerve," explains Dr Corinne Lallam, dental surgeon and member of the French Society of Periodontology and Oral Implantology.
To protect it against external aggressions, dentin can count on two allies: the gum and dental enamel. It is when one of these two tissues is no longer able to provide its protection that tooth sensitivity occurs. Exposed and without a protective barrier, dentin becomes hypersensitive to external aggressions, such as cold. Nerve endings activate. And the pain is felt. "In some people with dental hypersensitivity, a simple glass of cool water, or even feeling the passage of cool outside air into the mouth will be a source of severe pain," says Dr Corinne Lallam.
It is advisable to consult your dentist in the event of persistent dental hypersensitivity. He will be able to establish a diagnosis and prescribe appropriate treatments: application of fluoride dental varnish, dental composite resins, etc.
Dental hypersensitivity: possible causes
What if it was the gum?
"Periodontal disease or an improper brushing technique can lead to retractions or recessions of the gums, that is to say a gradual loss of gum tissue," warns Dr Corinne Lallam.
To protect your teeth, gums and enamel, adopt an appropriate tooth brushing technique. "An always flexible brush changed regularly, a gentle movement but a brushing time of 2 minutes minimum. Electric brushes allow you to manage your brushing well and are recommended", explains Dr Lallam.
Did you know ? A surgical technique can be proposed to reposition the gum tissue on the bare root.
What if it was tooth enamel?
"Foods and drinks that are too acidic or too sweet can lead to degradation and loss of tooth enamel. The enamel layer is demineralized ... It becomes porous, sensitive and thus less protective," recalls Dr Corinne Lallam.
The recommendations :
Opt for a toothpaste specifically suited to sensitive teeth and gums. Their particular composition helps to strengthen the tissues and therefore prevent the excitation of the nerve;
Eat a varied and balanced diet, limit sugary and acidic products such as sodas.
Did you know? After teeth whitening, it is common to suffer from tooth sensitivity. Do not panic! This is an episode of transient hypersensitivity due to the products used during the intervention.
What if it was a cavity?
"Cavities can also be the cause of cold pain. It is therefore essential to consult a dentist for a diagnosis", recommends Dr. Corinne Lallam.
The recommendations :
Limit sugary foods and drinks;
Brush your teeth morning and night for at least 2 minutes;
Every evening, clean the interdental spaces with dental floss or an interdental brush.
Sodas, fruit juice: these drinks that weaken your teeth
As the consumption of sodas, juices, and other refreshing drinks continues to increase, dentists are concerned. More and more young adults, and even children, indeed present characteristic dental lesions. Doctissimo takes stock.
Earlier and earlier dental erosion
As life expectancy increases, more of us also keep our teeth into old age. Now accustomed to identifying and treating wear lesions, dental surgeons are worried: "Dental erosion is not only more frequent but, above all, it appears in patients who are still young, sometimes even children, explains Prof. Colon. Since the 2000s, many works have appeared in international journals. Most of them concern children and young adolescents because at their age, erosion is necessarily linked to lifestyle ".
One of the last studies published in 2010 and carried out among 2251 Icelandic children, showed that at 12 years old, 16% of them have at least one affected tooth and at 15 years old, they are 31% 3. The figures and The teeth primarily affected vary depending on the country, the age of the children and the assessment methods used, but the findings are the same: erosion, more and more commonly observed on milk teeth, continues on the teeth final at a worrying rate.
Unlike cavities, which extend deep, wear lesions first affect the surface of the teeth. Professor Colon explains: "These lesions begin with a thinning of the enamel which ends up leaving the dentin, which is yellowish, to surface, which in turn widens. In the children examined, the erosion concerns the incisors, which lose their profile slightly. bulging, and the triturating face 4 of the lower first molars which also flattens. This wear is typical, located on the path of the drinks ingested ".
Acidic drinks, main culprits
The correlation has indeed been established several times: children with damaged teeth are also the biggest consumers of acidic foods and drinks. This is also true in adulthood: in 2011, an English study 5 estimated that the risk of presenting dental erosion is multiplied by 6.5 in 18-30 year olds consuming acidic drinks.
If the wear and tear on the teeth of today's children remains relatively small, given their age, what form will it take in 10 or 30 years if their habits do not change? "When erosion reaches the dentin, which is softer than enamel, the lesions progress even faster," continues the specialist. We then note the appearance of dental hypersensitivities and, sometimes, a significant aesthetic and functional impact".
All drinks are acidic except water and milk. "When the pH of the teeth is lower than 5.5, the teeth begin to decalcify. The pH of soda, energy drinks, iced tea, fruit juice, seasoning water, wine, beer... Is between 2.5 (such as lemon juice)," Dr. Colon said note that sugar in most beverages exacerbates the problem because the bacteria that cause dental caries convert sugar into acid.
In France, the consumption of non-alcoholic soft drinks is estimated at 60 litres per person per year. This figure seems reasonable considering the average consumption of Europeans (94 liters) or Americans (180 liters). However, it masked a huge difference and sales increased steadily (32% from 1994 to 2004 and 224% for the light version).
Mode of consumption also matters
Professor Colon specifies, however, that it is not abnormal, for the teeth, to be in contact with acidic foods or drinks: "It is a question of proportion. The acidity of the product, its capacity to be more or less quickly neutralized by saliva and, above all, the mode of consumption, also count ".
Today, however, exposure to fruit juices, sodas, compotes and other acidic products sometimes begins at an early age thanks to the mini-formats or bottles of grenadine, cola always ready to quench thirst during the day. .. As they grow up, these children continue to demand sugary drinks at the expense of water and dairy products. Teenagers, they sip their glass of soda, all day long, while revising their exams or watching TV ... Some do not hesitate to keep a bottle handy for the night.
"People who tend to have a dry mouth, professionals exposed to heat (construction workers, bakers, etc.) and athletes are also heavy consumers of this type of drink. However, their acidity is even more harmful. in this context since the saliva, which could neutralize it, is not present in sufficient quantity ", remarks Professor Colon. As for the followers of the plans, they use and sometimes abuse drinks without sugars and acidic seasonings (vinegars, lemon, mustard ...) without being aware of their repercussions on the teeth.
Is it possible to reverse the trend?
Faced with the long-term risks, many studies conclude that there is a need for further research into the factors of erosion and the means of preventing it, by adding, for example, protective elements in acidic foods and drinks. The research undertaken to this end, however, began more than 20 years ago without anything having changed so far.
In the meantime, parents and informed consumers can themselves take certain precautions to limit the damage. The first is of course to limit your consumption of sodas, fruit juices and other refreshing drinks by replacing them with milk or plain water (carbonated water is often slightly acidic).
To better neutralize their acidity, Professor Colon also advises to consume them at mealtimes: "Salivary secretion is maximum and we can end the meal with a protective food, typically a dairy product. Drink with a straw to limit contact. with your teeth, rinse your mouth with water, chew sugar-free gum and, above all, brush your teeth after each meal can also slow down or stop erosion if it is not too advanced ". Otherwise, it is essential to restore damaged teeth to protect them from new attacks and reduce hypersensitivity.