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Sharp tooth pain
If you experience a sudden pain in one or more of your teeth when biting down, you may have tooth decay or cavities, says Sally Cram, DDS, a Washington DC-based periodontist. “There’s a particular type of bacteria that takes sugar from your diet and coverts it into acid, which causes tooth decay, or holes in your teeth. And when those holes get deep, that causes sensitivity and, eventually, cavities.
If the tooth pain occurs only once in a while, and isn’t confined to single spot, it’s probably nothing to worry about, Dr. Cram says. But if it’s consistent—meaning it recurs for a week or more—you should pay your dentist a visit.
Achy tooth pain
A throbbing or achy tooth pain may be nothing if it only last a day or two, says Sherri Worth, DDS, a reconstructive dentist in Newport Beach, California. But pain that lasts for more than a week may be a sign you’re grinding or clenching your teeth. If that’s the case, Dr. Worth says you might benefit from a night guard.
Persistent pain accompanied by swollen gums or glands could also be caused by an abscessed tooth—a.k.a. a tooth with a root infection, adds Dr. Worth. Only your dentist can tell for sure.
Yellow or stained teeth
Stained or yellow teeth are almost never a sign of serious dental concerns, says Dr. Worth. “These stains develop from drinking coffee, tea, wine, or other dark or staining liquids.” Whitening toothpastes, strips, or a trip to your dentist can solve the problem. “It’s also a good idea to rinse or brush your teeth after consuming these liquids to prevent staining in the first place,” she adds.
If the stains are brown or stripey, on the other hand, this could be the result of tetracycline antibiotics you were administered as a child, or from other medications, Dr. Cram adds. “It doesn’t mean the teeth are damaged, but your dentist can take cosmetic steps to remove those stains.” Continue reading “7 weird things your teeth are trying to tell you”