Common medical questions and answers through blogs and articles

Are Hot Drinks Bad for Teeth?

For most people, that wonderful warm trickle of coffee or tea down our throats gets us up and at ‘em and ready to take on the day.  But sometimes that first swallow of java, is not pure enjoyment, especially if you wince in pain when the warm liquid hits your teeth.  While your warm morning beverage may hit the spot for waking you up, it may be hitting the wrong spot if you have a sensitive teeth.

Hot Coffee

In most cases, you caused the sensitivity in your teeth yourself – oh, you did not go about intentionally causing big-time issues, but it happened over some time.  While you were indulging in a liquid diet of sugary sodas which are high in acidic content, you helped to begin a slow but steady erosion of the hard enamel that covers your teeth, thus exposing your gums to gradual recession.  If you’re reading this and saying “I’m not a soda drinker”, well if you drank sports or energy drinks, fruit juice or even flavored seltzer water, then you have unwittingly exposed your teeth to the harmful effects of acid and eventual erosion of tooth enamel.  Perhaps you have brushed your teeth twice a day to prevent cavities, but, in doing so, you might have used a medium or hard toothbrush and brushed vigorously, and you’ve damaged the gum tissue, leaving it and the layer of tissue just beneath the gums called the dentin, exposed and ultra-sensitive.

The gum tissue and its underlying dentin often is irritated by the overuse of tooth-whitening agents because they contain harsh ingredients used to dissolve surface stains on the teeth.  If you are interested in preserving a white smile, your better bet is to seek a consultation with a family dentist.  A dentist will be able to come up with a solution to reduce your tooth sensitivity and will also suggest ways to avoid this problem in the future.  That dental practitioner can also discuss your sensitive tooth issues and make recommendations toward eradicating that problem.  Sometimes a simple fix like a fine varnish may be applied to the tooth, or teeth, by your dentist.  This may be a workable option if the sensitivity is not too severe, and, the varnish application must be done periodically to keep it working effectively.

Drinking a warm beverage

Tooth sensitivity while enjoying a hot beverage is a nuisance, it may also spell doom for the teeth.  For example, in the cold weather, if you drink a hot drink shortly after coming inside, you may cause cracks in the surface of the teeth.  While you won’t witness teeth snapping off at the gum line like you’d see in a cartoon, the temperature change and introducing a hot beverage to your cold teeth will cause superficial cracks, barely visible to the naked eye, by the rapid changes in temperature.  This is because the thick enamel that covers and protects your teeth becomes suddenly stressed, resulting in a crack.  In the case of a severe crack, the eventual damage may be damage to pulp or nerve within the tooth, which in turn may cause an infection or an abscess.  The latter malady is the exception, and is problematic for the individual who is constantly exposed to extremes in temperature.

To combat the problem, simply wrap your scarf over your mouth, and it will warm the air you breathe, helping to prevent any dental issues.

If you’ve damaged your teeth or caused extreme sensitivity unknowingly, don’t beat yourself up over it.  The malady is common and over 45 million adults in the United States experience sensitive teeth issues at some point in their lives.  If you recognize the problem, and understand that it may be corrected by changing your habits, or through a treatable fix at the dentist’s office, you are one step closer to resolving the issue.  Schedule a consultation with a dentist to get the problem remedied today.

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