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Why Do My Teeth Hurt When I Eat Sweets?

Uncover the Cause of Your Toothaches and How to Recover
Read Time: 5.5 Minutes | Jun 10, 2020

Why Do My Teeth Hurt When I Eat Sweets?

Uncover the Cause of Your Toothaches and How to Recover
Read Time: 5.5 Minutes | Jun 10, 2020
Why Do My Teeth Hurt When I Eat Sweets?

Some people experience pain in their teeth after eating something sweet. Tooth pain is never pleasant, no matter its severity. But what can cause it and how can you prevent it?

Causes of Sugar Sensitivity

Sugar sensitivity is usually a symptom of a greater problem. Determining what it is can help prevent it from getting worse and can also help you learn how to prevent tooth pain in the future.

Loss of Enamel

If your teeth are losing their enamel, they can be more sensitive, and not just to sugar, but to other things as well, like extremely hot or cold beverages or food. Enamel is the outer layer of your teeth and it protects them from cavities and decay. But if it starts to erode, you’re at an increased risk for tooth decay, so it’s important to pay attention to any sensitivity you may feel.

Brushing too Hard

If you brush too hard or the bristles of your toothbrush are too hard, that can wear away at your enamel. Look for a toothbrush with soft bristles. When you’re brushing, whether you use a manual or electric toothbrush, brush gently with a circular motion, not hard or straight back and forth across your teeth.

Hot coffee in a mug and coffee beans on a table

Eating Acidic Foods

What you eat can also have an effect on your enamel. Foods like pickles, cranberries, anything with tomato in it, as well as coffee and alcohol can all do some damage to your teeth. They can wear away the enamel, leaving your teeth at risk for cavities. These foods can also cause discoloration in your teeth.


Sensitivity to sugar could also mean worse than just the loss of enamel. It could also be a sign that you have cavities in your teeth. If you feel tooth sensitivity, don’t wait to mention it to your dentist. There may be cavities they need to fill.

Tooth Damage

Any trauma to the teeth can cause sensitivity. If your teeth were physically damaged in an accident or while you were playing sports, it’s possible that sensitivity to sugar could be a result. If you grind your teeth, that can cause damage to your teeth and wear down the enamel, leading to increased sensitivity.

Tooth Whitening Treatments

Some tooth whitening treatments can cause temporary sensitivity to sugar. This usually fades, however, unlike sensitivity caused by tooth decay or enamel loss.

Gum Disease

Gum disease doesn’t just affect the gums. It can also affect how your teeth feel and can affect your overall oral health. If you’re suffering from gingivitis or periodontitis, you may also feel sensitivity to sugar in your teeth and gums.

How Can I Prevent Tooth Sensitivity to Sugar?

Sensitivity to sugar can be prevented by maintaining good oral health. This will have the added benefit of preventing enamel loss and tooth decay.

Watch What You Eat

The first step is to watch what you eat. If you’re eating a lot of unhealthy food, you may be at an increased risk for poor oral health. Vitamin deficiency can contribute to tooth decay by weakening the teeth, so it’s important to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Some foods that can help prevent loss of enamel (and therefore also prevent sugar sensitivity) include vegetables, foods rich in fiber, yogurt, cheese, and milk.

Watch Your Sugar Intake

If your teeth hurt after you eat sugar, another option is to reduce the amount of sugar you eat. Not only will you be avoiding what hurts your teeth, but eating less sugar is better for your teeth and can help prevent cavities.

Avoid Acidic Foods

Acidic foods can eat away at the enamel on your teeth. Avoiding these foods can help preserve your enamel for longer, decreasing the risk of cavities.

Woman brushing her teeth

Change Brushing Habits

If you’re brushing too hard, you could be damaging your teeth. You may need to change your brushing style to be gentler, but swapping out your toothbrush could help, too.

What Toothpaste Should I Use?

If your teeth are generally more sensitive, there are kinds of toothpaste that specialize in tooth sensitivity. These should be available anywhere toothpaste is sold. You can also check with your dentist to ask what he or she recommends.

What Toothbrush Should I Use?

The most important thing you should look for in a toothbrush is soft bristles. Hard bristles can wear away at your enamel. Soft bristles will clean just as well while preserving your enamel.

Avoid Self-Whitening Treatments

Some tooth whitening treatments can cause temporary sensitivity, especially those involving bleach. Treatments you can do at home come with a greater risk of not being done properly. Ask your dentist about professional tooth whitening treatments and what treatment is best to avoid sensitivity.

Dr. Desai dentist and patient

Visit Your Dentist

Your dentist can provide you with advice for avoiding sensitivity. He or she can also help determine if you have an underlying problem with your teeth that is causing the sensitivity. Any cavities can be filled and the dentist can also recommend actions you can take to improve your oral health.

How Can I Treat Tooth Sensitivity?

There are a variety of options for you to treat tooth sensitivity. The treatment may depend on the cause of the sensitivity, so it’s important to know first why you’re experiencing the sensitivity to sugar in the first place.


Over-the-counter painkillers can help dull the immediate pain when you experience sensitivity to sugar. If your teeth hurt during or after meals, taking a painkiller can help ease that pain.


If you grind your teeth, which wears away at the enamel, a mouthguard worn at night can help protect your teeth from damage.


If you have cavities, getting them filled can help ease the sensitivity. The sugar wouldn’t be able to come into direct contact with the decayed spot anymore. It’s best for the health of the tooth to get it filled as soon as possible.


Sealants can help protect your teeth from decay. They seal the vulnerable areas of your teeth and prevent food and plaque. Usually, children get them on their molars, but adults can benefit from them as well.


Fluoride makes the teeth more resistant to acidic foods and sugars that are consumed. It helps encourage the remineralization that improves the health of the enamel. Fluoride comes in many forms, from gel to mouthwash.

Special Toothpaste

Special toothpaste that is designed for sensitive teeth can also help decrease your sensitivity.

What Effects Can Sugar Have on My Teeth?

Sugar is bad for your teeth. Avoiding it can help improve your overall health, not just the health of your mouth. But what exactly does sugar do?


The bacteria that eat away at the enamel and cause tooth decay feed on sugar. The more sugar there is in your mouth, the greater the chances of tooth decay.

Can I Rebuild Tooth Enamel?

Enamel is made up of minerals on the teeth. Once it’s gone, it can’t be brought back. If it’s still there, but weakened, it can be improved by remineralization. The minerals in your enamel are calcium, so eating foods with calcium can help deposit more onto your teeth. Treating your teeth with Fluoride can also help encourage remineralization. Acidic foods strip calcium away from your teeth, so avoiding those foods can also help.


Sugar can cause your teeth to ache if you eat too much of it. Toothache can also be caused by cavities and gum disease, which sugar can contribute to.


Sugar increases the bacteria in your mouth that cause tooth decay. The more sugar you eat, the better the environment in your mouth is for decay.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gums. Sugar increases the bacteria in your mouth and so also contributes to gingivitis and periodontitis.