Is Your Favorite Drink Causing Sensitive Teeth?

2021-06-15T13:20:06+00:00June 15th, 2021|Tooth Sensitivity|

Sensitive Teeth Causes

Do you think you might have sensitive teeth? If so, what drinks do you consume on a daily basis?

Beverages can have a significant impact on your oral health, beginning with your teeth. Drinks that are high in acidity soften tooth enamel. Over time, this can lead to sensitive, vulnerable teeth. If left unaddressed, cavities and tooth decay can ensue. And if you regularly drink beverages that are both acidic and sugary, then you’re at risk for double the damage.

Of course, how you approach what you drink will depend on your current habits and what you’re willing to change. Some people choose to steer clear of acidic and sugary beverages altogether, while others shoot for moderation. Below, we’ll discuss what types of drinks can do the most damage to your teeth, as well as other common causes of tooth sensitivity and how to counteract them.

 

How to Recognize Tooth Sensitivity
Essentially, you can tell if you have sensitive teeth if you experience unexpected discomfort or pain when drinking or eating something that’s hot or cold. It often reveals itself as a short and sharp pain in your teeth when biting into ice cream, sipping on an ice-cold beverage, drinking a steaming-hot soup, and the like. Sometimes, you can even feel it by simply breathing through your mouth. Exposure to cold air, sweet or acidic drinks and food, and brushing your teeth can also trigger a response.

Tooth sensitivity can cause a wide range of symptoms—from a mild twinge to unbearable discomfort. The pain can come suddenly, disappear, and come back without warning. Over time, the severity of the pain can also change. And you may not always feel the sensitivity in every tooth.

If you have sensitive teeth, you will feel it. Tooth sensitivity is common, and it can happen for a variety of reasons. However, if your teeth feel sensitive for more than a few weeks, you should visit your dentist. Adam Brown DDS and his team will evaluate you to determine the best treatment for your situation.

 

Common Beverages With High Acidity
Beverages are one of the most common causes of tooth sensitivity. When you frequently drink beverages with high acidic content, it can do a number on your oral health over time. Even though you may not think of liquids staying in your mouth for a long period of time (like tiny parcels of food sometimes do), the particles in certain drinks can attach to your teeth and damage the enamel. Let’s take a look at some common drinks you might consider moderating or cutting out of your diet:

Soda
We’ll start with one of America’s favorite beverages. If you pour a can of Coke on the hood of your car every day for a year, then it will erode the paint. Now, imagine what it does to your teeth over time.

While soda may be super tasty, it can be horrible for your teeth and oral health in general. It’s among the most acidic drinks you can buy, and it’s chock-full of sugar that will feed the harmful bacteria in your mouth. In short, regularly drinking soda leaves your teeth vulnerable to decay and cavities, and it can cause severe sensitivity.

It’s important to note that diet sodas are just as harmful to your oral health as regular sodas. Study after study has shown that sugar-free varieties dissolve tooth enamel at the same rate. Moreover, darker sodas are more likely to turn your teeth yellow.

Fruit Juice
Though it provides some great vitamins, most fruit juice is concentrated, which means it’s highly acidic. Cranberry and citrus-based juices are the most acidic. If you wish to continue drinking fruit juice, consider watering it down and/or using a straw to drink it. And if you’re worried about missing out on the nutrients if you cut out fruit juices, whole fruit is a better source of nutrition anyway, so you would be better served to simply eat the fruit itself.

Then there are the fruit punch varieties. These types of drinks essentially provide none of the benefits that come with real fruit juice. In fact, fruit punch rarely has real juice, which means none of those nutrients are there either. What they do have is high fructose corn syrup and sugar—lots of it. And the high acid content of fruit punch will eventually erode your enamel, cause sensitive teeth, and worse unless you reign in your intake.

Sports and Energy Drinks
Similar to fruit punch beverages, sports and energy drinks, like Gatorade and Monster, are loaded with sugar and highly acidic. As such, consuming them too often can lead to enamel erosion and vulnerable teeth. Nonetheless, sports drinks are an excellent source of hydration and electrolytes, so if you exercise regularly, you may not want to remove them from your diet altogether.

Alcohol
While not overconsuming alcohol is critical for your health and well-being anyway, drinking too much alcohol can negatively impact your teeth specifically. Wine is perhaps the most harmful for teeth. Because red wine tends to stain teeth, many people opt for white wine instead. However, white wine contains more acid, which means that it can cause your teeth to erode more quickly.

Liquor, such as vodka and whiskey, is also acidic and can cause teeth sensitivity and other problems over time. And while there is evidence to suggest that beer can be beneficial to your oral health, the acid in beer can do damage to your teeth unless you drink in moderation. Plus, dark barley is known to stain teeth.

Another factor to consider is that saliva plays a critical role in keeping your teeth moist and removing bacteria and plaque from the surface of your teeth. Alcohol can dry out your mouth. So, if you drink alcohol, be sure to drink water along with it to stay hydrated.

Coffee
Different coffee roasts are often distinguished by their level of acidity, which leads many people to assume that coffee is a highly acidic beverage. But next to some of the other drinks on this list, the acid content in coffee is quite moderate. And evidence suggests that drinking coffee in moderation can actually benefit your teeth and help prevent cavities.

Of course, we’re talking about black coffee. If you add sweetener to your Java, you get the same risks that come with drinking other types of sugary beverages.

Tea
Green and white tees are known for promoting oral health. But when it comes to iced teas, which are often black teas with sugar or other types of sweetener, it’s a different story. Most iced teas are very acidic and packed with sugar. And some of the most popular iced tea brands can do more damage to your teeth than sodas.

Sparkling Water
Sparkling water is viewed as being relatively harmless. And in many ways, that’s true. However, sparkling water can be quite acidic, especially those that are flavored or naturally essenced with fruit. In some cases, flavored sparkling water can be more erosive than orange juice or other concentrated fruit juices. While most products won’t have a big impact on your overall health, it’s best to moderate how many you drink in a day and make regular filtered water your go-to.

 

Beneficial Beverages
Since we’ve covered quite a few beverages that are not so good for your teeth, it’s only fair that we talk about some that are! For example, milk is one of the best liquids you can drink for your oral health. It’s full of proteins, vitamins, and minerals that can strengthen and repair tooth enamel. Its most prominent vitamin, vitamin D, helps to combat gum disease because and reduce inflammation in the gums. And the protein casein helps to prevent tooth decay by forming a protective film over the surface of your teeth.

As previously mentioned, green and white teas can be beneficial to your teeth. They are full of antioxidants that reduce inflammation in the gums and help stave off harmful bacteria. Unlike black tea, green and white teas will not stain your teeth. Furthermore, white tea is an excellent natural source of fluoride, which can help your enamel stay strong. Just like coffee, however, the innocence of these teas is thrown out the window when you start adding sugar or other sweeteners.

 

Other Common Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
Acidic and sugary beverages are not the only thing that can cause sensitivity. Let’s take a look at some other culprits to be aware of:

 

Brushing Too Hard
If you’re an over-enthusiastic brusher, meaning you brush your teeth too often or too hard, then you run the risk of getting sensitive teeth. It can also happen from using a hard-bristle toothbrush. You should never brush more than three times a day, and you should never use overly abrasive toothpaste.

If you prefer to brush after each meal, consider switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush, as well as a toothpaste specially formulated for sensitive teeth. And brush gently, even if it means using your non-dominant hand to hold the brush until you get used to brushing lightly.

You might also consider investing in an electric toothbrush. Most of the leading models come with soft bristles, and since the toothbrush does the work for you, all you have to do is guide it lightly across your teeth and gums.

 

Grinding Your Teeth
Another common cause of tooth sensitivity is bruxism, which is when you grind your teeth or clench your jaw. Most people do this when they sleep, and it can severely and quickly wear down your teeth’ enamel. You may subconsciously grind your teeth during a poor night’s sleep, or even during the day in high-stress situations.

Becoming aware of bruxism is the first step of resolving it. If you recognize that you grind your teeth or clench your jaw, start incorporating stress-relieving activities into your routine, such as deep breathing, yoga, and meditation. Also, talk to your dentist about whether or not you should use a mouthguard while you sleep.

 

Receding Gums
No one is immune to gum recession. Over time, the tissue around your teeth will wear away. But the recession should not be severe.

A lack of proper oral hygiene can cause your gums to recede at a faster rate and lead to periodontal disease. In extreme cases, this can cause the dentin around the roots of your teeth to become exposed, or even the roots themselves. Unsurprisingly, this can make for some very sensitive teeth! Brushing your teeth correctly, using the right bristles and toothpaste, and taking other oral hygiene measures will help you prevent severe gum recession.

 

Other Dental Problems
Cavities and tooth decay are common culprits for tooth sensitivity. And these are more prevalent around fillings and worn-down crowns. Also, if you have a cracked or broken tooth, the nerve of the tooth may be exposed, which can also cause sensitivity. If you think you have any of these issues, contact your dentist as soon as possible.

 

In Sum
Tooth sensitivity is often a sign that change is in order. Take an honest assessment of your diet, and see if there are any acidic and sugary beverages you need to cut back on or eliminate. And lookout for the other common culprits of sensitive teeth. Finally, if you’re overdue for a checkup or are experiencing any dental issues, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with Adam Brown DDS!

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Asking for a Friend: What Causes Adult Drooling and How Do You Stop It? 

2021-02-05T17:23:19+00:00January 13th, 2021|Adam Brown DDS, Drooling|

It’s a question we’ve all asked at one point or another. Sure, you never drool, but just in case you know a friend or family member who does, it’s worth knowing more about! Adam Brown DDS is here to cure your curiosity on the topic, with a few facts and some information that might be helpful for “your friend”. 

When we think of drooling, we picture a cartoon swooning over another character, saliva dripping from the corner of the mouth. But for some of us, drooling is part of our reality. Many of us are familiar with waking up to drool stains on our pillow—especially if we’re side-sleepers—or wiping away the constant drool from a baby’s mouth. But when is drooling no longer normal, what even causes it, and how do you stop it from happening? Let’s sort this problem out together: 

 

WHAT CAUSES DROOLING—THE SIMPLE ANSWER 

It might be a surprise to those of us who drool, but we produce quite a bit less drool when we sleep than while we are awake. Naturally, our muscles relax as we sleep. So why do we drool? Well, the short answer is gravity. When we sleep on our back, the saliva rests in the back of the throat and drains. When we sleep on our sides or stomach, accumulated drool can slip through our lips. 

But drooling doesn’t always occur because we sleep. There are many possible reasons why an adult could be drooling. If you asked your dentist about it, they might ask you questions like:  

  • Are there any known medical issues? 
  • Do you have any issues with allergies? 
  • Are you known to be a mouth breather? 

Depending on how and when it’s occurring, or even down to the individual, drooling can have several different causes. Let’s discuss some of the most common scenarios below: 

 

Nightguard Drooling 

Wearing a dental nightguard is not the most comfortable bedtime routine, and when they’re new to us, it feels unnatural and uncomfortable. As you adjust to nightguards, you might experience drooling. We know there’s nothing worse than wet, soggy pillows, but rest assured (no pun intended) that the drooling is temporary. It might take a few weeks for your brain to get used to the appliance in your mouth, but it will eventually adjust, and your glands will return to producing a normal amount of saliva as you sleep. 

 

Allergies & Mouth Breathing 

Blocked nasal passages due to allergies can cause you to breathe through your mouth, leading to increased drooling. This can happen when you ingest a food ingredient you’re allergic to, as your body attempts to flush the toxins out by producing more saliva. However, it’s most often caused by seasonal allergies like mold and pollen. If you’re dealing with a runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes, the allergies likely have something to do with your drooling.  

 

Acidity/GERD 

This digestive condition washes stomach acid back into the esophagus. This damages the lining of your esophagus and can cause difficulty swallowing, thus leading to excessive drooling for some people.  

  

Sinus Infection 

Blocked sinuses are never fun. So, if you’re experiencing nasal congestion due to an infection, or if you have regularly enflamed sinuses, you might find yourself breathing through your mouth more often and drooling. 

 

Tonsillitis 

This condition inflames the glands in the back of your throat or tonsils. As the glands swell, the passage becomes more narrow and obstructs the drainage of saliva. The saliva then builds up, and gravity does its work.  

 

Sleep Disorders 

Drooling is a known symptom in those suffering from sleep terrors or sleep conditions like sleep apnea, sleepwalking, and sleep talking. Sometimes the medications taken to counteract these conditions can also cause increased saliva production (more on medications later). 

 

Illnesses 

Common illnesses such as strep throat, infectious mononucleosis, and sinus infections can cause people to experience excess drooling. Some other health conditions that are known to cause drooling include: 

Epiglottitis. Your epiglottis is a plate of tissue in the back of your throat. Epiglottitis occurs when that tissue gets infected and swells, making it difficult to swallow.   

Bell’s palsy. Individuals with Bell’s palsy experience muscle weakness on one side of the face. The weakness can vary from mild to severe.  

Guillain-Barrè syndrome. This syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that damages nerves in various parts of the body.  

 

Major Health Crises 

After a stroke, or as a result of cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis (MS), drool can be a symptom of a neurological condition or other health condition. 

Medical issues that are symptomatic of drooling can range in severity and include a variety of conditions. Drooling can occur from posturing issues or low muscle tone in the lips, jaw, and tongue. More severe issues may require a specialist, such as a speech pathologist. But some drooling may be a cause of more simple conditions like allergies, sleep deprivation, or sleeping on your side. 

 

Side Effects from Medications  

Several medications can cause your body to increase its saliva production. This is particularly true of medications used for treating Alzheimer’s disease, psychiatric disorders, and myasthenia gravis (MG)—a neuromuscular disease that harms skeletal muscles.  

If you’re taking any such medications, be sure to discuss the issue with your healthcare provider. For example, if you’re taking a certain medication for depression, you’ll want to speak with a behavioral health specialist to go over alternative treatment options. If you’re taking medications for a neurological condition, ask your neurologist about any other solutions.  

 

NORMAL AGES FOR DROOLING 

Drooling is a normal process throughout the infancy and toddler stages. Infants have immature musical control, and saliva helps to soften food and ease swallowing. Also, increased saliva protects babies’ teeth from tooth decay. Drooling becomes more frequent around three to six months of age. Because babies’ teeth are erupting from the gums, their saliva production increases, and thus, the drooling increases. Once children are past the toddler milestone, drooling can be a sign of further social and developmental issues. 

 

HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR DROOLING IS NORMAL 

Talk to your dentist and your doctor. If drooling is decreasing your quality of sleep or creating other issues, then it might be time to seek medical help. If you’re experiencing a known major illness or health condition, talking to your medical professionals is the best way to determine if your drooling is normal. There’s no substitute for a professional’s opinion.  

 

COMMON CONSEQUENCES OF DROOLING  

Yes, drooling is annoying. But it can also have a more profound impact on your physical and mental health. Frequent drooling can cause your skin to chap, become irritated, or even break out. Also, if you have trouble swallowing and often experience saliva pooling in your throat, it can lead to aspiration pneumonia (a severe lung infection). Moreover, drooling can cause feelings of embarrassment, especially when it happens in public, and it can harm one’s self-esteem.  

 

HOW TO STOP DROOLING: TREATMENT OPTIONS 

Identifying the cause of your drooling is the first step to treating it. If your drooling stems from allergies, sinus problems, or other minor conditions, the culprit is likely open-mouth breathing. For some cases, there’s an easy fix, while more extensive cases require different treatments. Let’s take a look at some of the most practical options you have in regards to drooling less (or not all): 

 

Changing Sleeping Positions 

The good news is that there is an easy fix! We recommend aiming to sleep on your back instead of your side. This will keep the saliva draining down your throat rather than out of your mouth. It might take a little while to get used to this sleeping position, but your body and mind should be able to adjust within a few weeks. And if you find yourself having breathing issues or acid reflux when purposefully sleeping on your back, you may need to seek further treatment.  

 

Homemade Remedies 

Homemade remedies are also worth trying. Some people suggest that to decrease drooling, biting a lemon wedge, consuming citrus, or drinking more water will thin the saliva and make it less likely to pool in your mouth. 

 

Using a Mandibular Device 

Some treatment options are more rigorous. Your dentist might recommend a mandibular device to help you sleep more comfortably and drool less. This oral device is like a nightguard. Your dentist can direct you where to purchase a mandibular device, but they can also be purchased online. Wherever you choose to buy your device, make sure you consult your dentist beforehand for recommendations.  

 

Botox Injections 

Another option is to get Botox injections. While this sounds a bit aggressive, it’s a viable approach to reduce hypersalivation. By injecting Botox into the saliva glands, the glands will stop overproducing saliva. This treatment is only temporary, however, and your glands will return to their normal function after the Botox wears off. 

 

CPAP Machine 

If your drooling is a result of sleep apnea, then a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine will make sure you’re positioned safely as you sleep and that you can breathe properly. Thus, it helps you to get a better, deeper night’s sleep. It should be noted, though, that the CPAP may not entirely prevent drooling. 

 

Surgery 

In extreme cases, it may be recommended that you remove your saliva glands. This is often the recommended treatment for people who have underlying neurological issues—not for those who are merely experiencing discomfort drooling while sleeping. This type of surgery is usually very successful, but it shouldn’t be the first thing you try in an attempt to stop your drooling. 

 

Medications  

Depending on the severity of your drooling, a doctor might recommend medication. This is especially the case if you have a neurological condition. For example, scopolamine (also “hyoscine”) is a medication often used to prevent drooling, as it effectively cuts off nerve impulses to the salivary glands. If you’re prescribed this medication, chances are it will come in patch form; you’ll simply place the patch behind your ear and replace it every 72 hours. It’s worth noting that scopolamine comes with potential side effects, such as rapid heart rate, itchy eyes, dry mouth, fatigue, and dizziness.  

Another medication that can decrease drooling is glycopyrrolate. While it works similarly to scopolamine, it can yield more severe side effects including hyperactivity, irritability, skin flushing, decreased sweating, and difficulty urinating.  

 

Speech Therapy  

Finally, speech therapy can go a long way in decreasing—or even stopping—your drooling issues. That’s because the core goal of speech therapy is to increase jaw stability and make the tongue stronger and more mobile. Over time, speech therapy can teach you simple techniques that can help you swallow more easily and drool less.  

 

In Conclusion 

At the end of the day, drooling is not particularly unusual, nor should it be embarrassing. Most of the time, it can be curbed by making minor changes in habit or through simple treatment options. If you’re concerned about drooling or whether or not your saliva production is normal, Adam Brown DDS is here to assess your oral health. Your dentist will discuss with you if drooling is a sign of a more serious health diagnosis and get you on the right track for treatment. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment! 

 

 

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