Happy Thanksgiving from Dr. Cindy Flanagan and our Houston dental team! This festive feast is one of our favorite holidays. Who wouldn’t enjoy having a beautiful meal with beloved family and friends? Unfortunately, however, the sweet, acidic, hot, and cold treats commonly presented at this fabulous meal can cause or worsen tooth sensitivity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in five adult Americans suffer from toothache or sensitive teeth. Especially on this joyous occasion, Dr. Flanagan and our team want to help you gobble up your delicious meal comfortably. In the following blog, we provide our Thanksgiving tips for touchy teeth.
Tooth Sensitivity 101
First of all, you should understand how exactly tooth sensitivity works. The American Dental Association explains the connection between sensitivity and dentin, the tooth layer directly beneath enamel: “Dentin is less dense than enamel…and contains microscopic tubules (small hollow tubes or canals). When dentin loses its protective covering of enamel…these tubules allow heat and cold or acidic and sticky foods to reach the nerves and cells inside the tooth. Dentin may also be exposed when gums recede. The result can be hypersensitivity.” Basically, when the first two layers of protection for the nerves and blood vessels within your teeth become compromised, your teeth can start to feel sensitive. This is often particularly pronounced when you consume specific foods and beverages.
Which Celebratory Snacks Typically Cause Sensitivity?
To fend off tooth sensitivity from your Thanksgiving feast, you should be aware of which tasty treats are most likely to be the source of it. The most common holiday culprits for this condition include:
· Cranberries. They are a Thanksgiving staple, but can be dangerous due to their sweetness and acidity.
· Soda. Its sugar content, acidity, and carbonation can be erosive. If served over ice, its chilly temperature could also be problematic.
· Coffee and tea. You might sip these beverages by the fire, but their acid content and warmth can be tough on your enamel.
· Marshmallow yams. One traditional Thanksgiving treat involves covering a plate of yams with golden brown marshmallows. While undeniably scrumptious, this dish’s sticky sweetness can get stuck on your enamel and create sensitivity.
· Pie. Whether it’s pumpkin, pecan, chocolate cream, apple, cherry, or any other kind, the sweet, sticky, and often acidic fillings of holiday pies could be a recipe for sensitivity.
· Ice cream. This combination of cold and sweet is one of the worst offenders when it comes to tooth sensitivity.
If you want to avoid tooth sensitivity, you should consume these Thanksgiving foods carefully and in moderation. Those who already suffer from this condition might want to avoid them entirely, if possible.
Ways to Ward Off Touchy Teeth
Let’s say you’re halfway through your pumpkin pie a la mode and you feel a zing of discomfort in your tooth. What should you do? If you suffer sensitivity at the Thanksgiving table, or you simply want to make sure you don’t experience this symptom, we recommend that you:
· Stop eating the dish that appears to be causing it. In some cases, tooth sensitivity is only a momentary issue, so when you put down the offending food, you’ll be fine.
· Drink plenty of water. This helps you stay hydrated throughout this typically sugar, starch, and sodium rich meal, plus it rinses away particulate matter that can stick on your teeth and lead to sensitivity.
· Brush your teeth when you’re finished eating. If you’ve polished off your plate of turkey, mashed potatoes, and other delicious dishes, it’s a good idea to scrub your teeth clean of the debris that could cause or worsen your tooth sensitivity. This could be even more beneficial for your teeth if you use toothpaste specifically designed to help with sensitivity.
By following this advice, you should be able to enjoy your Thanksgiving and safeguard your smile against sensitivity.
How We Can Help
Dr. Flanagan and our team are available to help you fight tooth sensitivity on Thanksgiving and the other 364 days of the year, too! When you come in for your preventive care appointment every six months, we will examine your mouth, clean your teeth, and go over any oral health issues you may be struggling with. If you suffer from sensitivity, we may recommend switching to a tooth sensitive toothpaste.
Dr. Flanagan will also perform diagnostic evaluations to help determine what is causing your sensitivity so that we can treat its true source. For example, you may have a sensitive tooth due to a cavity or fracture, in which case we may recommend placing a filling or dental crown. We can also prescribe periodontal treatment if gum recession is the cause. No matter the circumstances of your sensitivity, Dr. Flanagan will create a customized treatment plan to help you eat, speak, and smile more comfortably.
Contact Our Houston Dental Practice Today
We are thankful for all of our patients! Enjoy a healthy, beautiful smile this holiday season with our assistance. If you’re suffering from tooth sensitivity or any other oral symptom, contact our Houston dental practice today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Flanagan.