Stopping Ice Cream Headaches and Tooth Pain
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Stopping Ice Cream Headaches and Tooth Pain

Posted on June 14th, 2015 by Dr. Nikoo Daftary

ice-cream-headachesAs summer temperatures rise, so does the consumption of ice cream. There is nothing better on a hot summer day than ice cream in all its frozen glory. Unfortunately, this delectable treat also has a downside; the ability to inflict pain in the form of an ice cream headache and tooth pain.

What is an ice cream headache?

Ice cream headaches, commonly referred to as “brain freeze”, occur when you eat or drink something cold very quickly. The extreme cold causes blood vessels in the roof of your mouth to dilate rapidly increasing blood flow to the area. The increased blood flow warms up the delicate tissue in the roof of your mouth and prevents it from being damaged by the cold.

How do I prevent and get rid of an ice cream headache?

These headaches normally resolve within a few seconds. You can warm up the roof of your mouth using your tongue by rubbing it back and forth along the top of your mouth. Drinking a room temperature drink, such as tap water, will help as well. The best advice is to slow down and be ready with a glass of water, just in case.

Why do my teeth hurt when I eat ice cream?

Many people experience teeth sensitivity to cold foods such as ice cream. The nerves inside the pulp chamber of the tooth are sending a signal to the brain that something is wrong. Pain that resolves quickly does not typically indicate a serious problem. The pain may be the result of a small cavity or even tiny abrasions on the surface of the tooth caused by overly aggressive brushing. Inflamed and receding gums can leave portions of the root exposed causing tooth pain. On the other hand, persistent tooth pain may indicate significant damage to the nerves and pulp inside the tooth. You should see your dentist immediately if you have persistent or worsening tooth pain. You should also see your dentist right away if your pain is the result of damage or trauma to the tooth.

How do I prevent tooth pain?

First, make sure you see your dentist regularly to ensure all dental work is intact, and you have no cavities. Scheduling regular dental cleanings and oral exams will help prevent oral issues from getting to the point that they are causing you pain while you eat. If your pain is caused by aggressive brushing, try switching to a softer brush and toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth. Make sure to exercise proper oral hygiene and proper gum care by flossing daily and using proper brushing techniques.

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