Discomfort When Eating – An Ipswich Dentist Discusses

There are a number of oral health problems that can make mealtimes less enjoyable

Dentist in surgeryIf we have a toothache that is persistent, we might feel reasonably sure that it is caused by tooth decay and a cavity.

Not all toothache is like this though and some patients experience discomfort only when they are eating.

Naturally, any pain in the oral cavity should be cause for our Ipswich patients to contact us for an appointment to have it checked without delay.

Our Foxhall Dental Practice team takes a look at some possible causes of discomfort when you are eating. Please read on.


Although you might expect a cavity to be painful at all times, this isn’t always the case and in some cases, you may only notice them when you are eating. Some of the ingredients in our food, such as sugar, can trigger pain when it enters a cavity. Pressure can also build as food becomes trapped in the cavity, causing discomfort. Any discomfort when eating, whether caused by a cavity or one of the other issues below, will require a check up by one of our dentists followed by any treatment that might be needed.

Cracked Tooth

Whilst we often notice a cavity (even if we deny it to ourselves to avoid a visit to the dentist), a crack in a tooth is not usually as noticeable. Some cracks can be very small but if they have damaged the enamel sufficiently, this allows temperature and bacteria to compromise the dentin layer which in turn affects the nerves deeper within the root canals of the tooth. As we have previously mentioned, once the dentin is exposed, even through the tiniest of cracks, sensitivity, tooth decay and possibly root canal infections may follow.

Tooth sensitivity

If you find it uncomfortable when you eat or drink very hot or cold food and drinks, there is every chance that you have sensitive teeth. Whilst this can be genetic, with some people having thinner enamel on their teeth than normal, it is often caused by enamel erosion which can occur from eating or drinking products that are acidic. Excessive brushing of the teeth can also wear down the enamel too, so ‘scrubbing’ your teeth is perhaps more likely to damage them than do them any good.

Dental abscess

If you find that pain is localised to a single tooth and occurs when you put pressure on it; for example, when biting down on food, it is possible that you might have a dental abscess. As the abscess drains, you might find that the pain decreases, but as it is infected, it will almost certainly return, possibly more painful than before. If you have an abscess you will need treatment to prevent its recurrence.

Gum Disease

There are many symptoms associated with gum disease. Some people suffer from all of them but it can also present no significant symptoms. This is why we always recommend that you see our local dental hygienist at our Ipswich practice every six months. One common problem with gum disease is that the gums can become very sore and also red and inflamed. As you can imagine, this can make eating quite painful and you should seek further professional advice to have it treated.

Receding gums

Receding gums often occur in our later years but can also be a result of gum disease. As the gums recede, they expose the lower root part of the tooth. This is less well protected by the enamel and therefore it will be more sensitive to extremes of heat, whether hot or cold. Other than using a toothpaste that helps tooth sensitivity, or taking mild painkillers, there is little that can be done about this and the best way to avoid, or at least delay it as much as possible, is to take good care of your gums as well as your teeth. Ask our dentists how.

Sinus problems

Situated just above the upper back teeth is the sinus cavity. Although this does not directly affect the teeth, it can cause pain due to the pressure it puts on the teeth when the cavity is infected. This can feel like toothache but is actually a sinus infection. You may need to see your GP if this persists.

As you can see, painful teeth and gums when eating can be caused by any number of problems. As with any dental issues, you should never try to self diagnose, and especially never attempt to treat the problem yourself. If you have any issues at all that are causing you discomfort, even where it is relatively mild, please contact the Foxhall Dental Practice to make an appointment to see a dentist on 01473 258396.