Summer sunshine calls for longer days and warmer nights, making us gravitate towards colder food and drinks. However, for some of us, biting down on ice cream or having a sip of a cold beverage can trigger a jolt of pain. Teeth sensitivity towards cold foods and drinks is caused when the nerves within your tooth are "exposed due to receding gums or worn tooth enamel." The worn-down enamel exposes the dentin, a layer in your tooth, that causes pain when your tooth comes into contact with cold foods and beverages.
A recent scientific study has discovered the reason why some of us feel pain when eating or drinking something cold. They found a specific gene, called TRPC5, that resides within cells. Those cells are found between the soft inner pulp and the hard outer layer of dentin and enamel, called the odontoblast. This gene triggers a nerve response to cold foods and drinks. "When someone with a dentin-exposed tooth bites down on a popsicle, for example, those TRPC5-packed cells pick up on the cold sensation and an 'ow!' signal speeds to the brain." Dr. Katharina Zimmerman, the team lead for the study, believes that these triggers can be blocked by creating a TRPC5 blocker that can be applied directly to your teeth via strips, chewing gum, or toothpaste to help treat dentine hypersensitivity.
The research team has also identified a pharmacological target for minimizing tooth sensitivity to cold. "For centuries, oil of cloves has been used as a remedy for tooth pain. The active agent in oil of cloves is eugenol, which happens to block TRPC5." Eugenol has already been used in toothpaste that is available in the market, but this study's findings may help find more leads to treating cold hypersensitivity.
In the future, these TRPC5 blocking agents can help prevent pain or sensitivity in teeth. In the meantime, if you are feeling any discomfort or sensitivity, please visit our dental office so we can assess your teeth and gums, to help come up with a treatment plan to get you back to optimal health.
What Causes Worn-Down Enamel?
There are many reasons why your enamel can become weak and worn down, leading to tooth sensitivity. Some of the major causes are:
How to Manage Tooth Sensitivity to Cold
Here are some dental remedies to help you treat sensitive teeth and manage their cold sensitivity better, so you can enjoy a cold treat during the warm summer days!
Can I Still Eat Ice Cream?
The answer is: yes! You can still enjoy ice cream moderately since it has plenty of calcium which is essential for healthy teeth and bones. However, don't forget, ice cream is packed with sugar and can weaken your enamel.
Try to look for low sugar ice cream, or other frozen treats such as sorbets that you can make at home, to control the amount of sugar intake. Try to brush your teeth around 30 minutes after you enjoy your dessert, or if you can't, rinse your mouth with water.
Overall, regular dental care is essential for your oral and overall health, especially in the summer when we're enjoying cold treats like ice cream! Contact our dental office today to book your regular dental visits to maintain your beautiful, radiant smiles!