Why Does Chocolate Hurt My Teeth?

Eating chocolate should be an entirely pleasurable and enjoyable experience. Though, you may have noticed that your teeth hurt when you try to do so. Why does this happen, and most importantly, what can you do to ensure this pain goes away and that you can enjoy chocolate once again, pain-free? Well, here is everything you are going to want to know and do.  

So, why does chocolate hurt my teeth? If chocolate is hurting your teeth, chances are your teeth are hypersensitive. It could be the sugar, temperature, or even texture of the chocolate. Teeth hypersensitivity can be attributed to a number of causes, including damaged enamel, inflamed gums, and other general causes of tooth damage.

Chances are, you’ll find that it’s not just chocolate that your teeth are sensitive to.

It’s likely other foods too.

So what is to follow may overlap with other foods. And my suggestions and the end will likely result in better dental health and reduced pain when eating in general.

So be sure to stick around – this information could help out more than you initially might have thought.

Why Does Chocolate Cause Tooth Pain?

Chocolate can cause tooth pain due to the effects it can have on your teeth – both following consumption and in the long term. 

The pain your teeth feel immediately during and after eating chocolate will be down to them being hypersensitive.

So below, let’s talk about how your teeth become hypersensitive, to begin with!

Damaged Enamel

Enamel is the thin yet important layer of material that covers the surface of every tooth inside your mouth. 

It’s so important because it protects your teeth every day from whatever forces it has to endure, whether it be biting, crunching, chewing, or grinding.

But if your enamel is eroded, then the rest of your teeth will be left vulnerable to further damage.

So, where does chocolate fit into all of this?

Well, chocolate contains high amounts of sugar, as you probably know.

Such foods that contain high amounts of sugar can erode your teeth’s enamel.

How on earth does this happen?

Well, the bacteria inside your mouth react with the sugar in the chocolate. It then produces an acid that eats away at your enamel and causes tooth sensitivity. 

The damage can even be so severe that it can cause cavities, which are painful in themselves. 

If cavities aren’t tended to by a dentist, then sugar from chocolate will enter them and cause tooth pain.

Either way, when you eat more chocolate, later on, the sugar intake will cause your teeth to hurt because they are now sensitive to it.

So, pre-existing tooth enamel erosion can be the reason why chocolate hurts your teeth. But it can also be the cause of your tooth enamel erosion in the first place.

Now it is important to note that the chances of tooth enamel damage being the cause of your pain when you eat chocolate are fairly low. It would only be the case if you were eating far too much chocolate and you were also not cleaning your teeth properly.

Inflamed Gums

Now I know we’re not talking about gums. We’re talking about teeth. But inflamed gums can lead to tooth pain.

There’s a thing in your mouth called tartar. And I’m not talking about the sauce. Trust me; I wish I was. That stuff is delicious. 

Tartar in your mouth is a calcified deposit that accumulates on your teeth and gums.

It is present when your mouth’s natural bacteria mix with food particles, creating what is called plaque. 

Your dentist might have told you all about plaque. A sticky film that coats your teeth.

Well, when you don’t deal with plaque, it hardens, forming into tartar.

Tartar can then inflame your gums.

The next consequence is that your gums recede, leaving the roots of your teeth exposed and thus making them more sensitive.

But it goes a step further. Sugar can find its way to the roots of your teeth. If it does and it touches the roots, then this will cause your teeth some pain. 

It causes them pain because their roots contain sensitive nerve endings. Hence the famous saying used when someone is annoyed ‘touched a nerve.’

If you eat chocolate with inflamed gums, then your teeth will be sensitive to its hard texture as well as its sugar content. So it could be that which is causing your teeth to hurt when you eat chocolate.

General Tooth Damage

Any other forms of trauma to your teeth can cause them to be sensitive to future chocolate/sugar eating.

Such trauma can be caused by your teeth biting down on something that is too hard.

It is this physical damage that such an action can cause that will leave your enamel compromised and your teeth exposed to sensitivity and pain.

Grinding your teeth is another example of how tooth damage can occur.

Does All Chocolate Cause Tooth Pain?

Chocolates that are high in sugar content will cause your teeth more pain than those that aren’t. The texture is also a factor, as harder chocolates will cause hypersensitive teeth more pain than softer chocolates.

Remember, it’s not usually the chocolate itself that will cause tooth pain. It’s the sugar inside the chocolate. 

In fact, the other main ingredient in chocolate, cocoa butter, is actually good for your teeth. This is because it contains antioxidants that can help protect teeth. 

So sugar is likely the culprit here. The more sugar there is in that chocolate bar you’ve just eaten, the more tooth pain it’s going to bring you (if you suffer from it)…

The high sugar content can exacerbate tooth pain, but it can also be the root cause (pardon the pun) as well. 

The more sugar you eat, the higher the chances of plaque and tartar forming.

Funnily enough, then, chocolates with high sugar content, like milk chocolate and white chocolate, will cause you more tooth pain than, say, dark chocolate, which contains less sugar.

The other issue is texture. If your teeth are hypersensitive, for whatever reason, then chocolate that is quite hard and tough to chew on will generate a lot of pain. 

So harder chocolates will cause a lot of tooth pain.

Softer chocolates, on the other hand, will be much easier for your teeth to get through, so they won’t cause as much pain when they are hypersensitive.

But remember that they are HYPERSENSITIVE, so even some amount of chewing could cause you pain.

And then there is the issue of temperature too.

Cold chocolate left in the fridge may cause tooth pain, whereas warmer unrefrigerated chocolates do not.

This is why ice cream can hurt our teeth, too.

What Chocolate Will Cause The Least Amount Of Tooth Pain?

Dark chocolate will cause the least amount of tooth pain as it contains low amounts of sugar. It is even reported to have oral health benefits. Soft chocolate will also cause less tooth pain than hard chocolates.

Ah, our old friend, dark chocolate. Standing out from its peers, milk and white as always.

What has the ‘healthier’ form of chocolate got in store for us when it comes to avoiding tooth pain?

For a start, it contains much less sugar, which is bad for tooth pain, and much more cocoa butter, which is good for your teeth!

What else? Well, dark chocolate contains lots of antioxidants that stop bad bacteria from growing in your mouth. 

These are the same bacteria that produce the acid which can damage your teeth and their enamel.

So there is substantially less risk of tooth pain when you eat dark chocolate compared to the others.

Generally, though, chocolate is better for your teeth and for limiting pain compared to candy. That’s because it can more easily be cleaned from your teeth.

Almost all chocolate also contains some of the antioxidants that are good for your teeth.

Softer chocolates will also produce less pain for your teeth.

When your teeth are sensitive, biting down on hard chocolate will be painful. That’s because of the stress and tension being placed on your sensitive teeth.

But softer chocolates won’t put as much stress and tension on your sensitive teeth. So the softer, the better!

How To Stop Getting Tooth Pain When Eating Chocolate?

You can stop getting tooth pain with chocolate by addressing your oral health and hygiene. You could also soften your chocolate before you eat it or even ensure that the chocolate is warm and not cold. 

Soften Chocolate 

Let’s start with the quick fix so you can eat your chocolate ASAP. 

You know I said that soft chocolate is good because it doesn’t come with as much pain? Well, I meant it. 

So if you do want to tuck into some chocolate, make sure it’s low in sugar first of all, but then soften it. 

Melt it until it’s liquid.

 Do whatever you have to do! Just get it soft enough so that no pain will be inflicted on your teeth.

Get Your Teeth Checked

If your teeth are hypersensitive, then visit your dentist. 

They will give you the best advice and treatment so that your teeth can once again get stuck back into the bars of chocolate out there waiting to be eaten.

Steps To Take

Your dentist will probably recommend or even perform some of these steps below. But it’s helpful to know about them before you visit them. 

To help with your teeth’s sensitivity, your dentist may apply what’s called fluoride varnish. They may restore a crown, inlay, or onlay.

Or they may have to complete a surgical gum graft.

It could be as simple as your dentist recommending you use a specialist-sensitive toothpaste for a while. 

But one thing you can bet on them recommending is that you improve your oral hygiene. Which could involve limiting your sugar intake…

Finally

Remember, it’s not chocolate that is to blame. It’s certain types of chocolate, or how they are eaten!

So look for low-sugar chocolate! And soft chocolate too!

But if teeth hypersensitivity persists and becomes a problem, time to take a trip to Willy Wonka’s nightmare…the dentist!

Noticed other reactions when eating chocolate? Then my other guides may be of help:

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