On June 13, 1789, Abigail Adams served ice cream to George Washington. This may have been a thank-you to the Washingtons. George’s wife liked to serve ice cream and lemonade at weekly parties in the White House. The Washingtons were big fans of ice cream, having acquired a “cream machine for ice” back in 1784.
George, at least, never had to worry about ice cream making his teeth ache. Do your teeth feel the cold of ice cream? Why does that happen?
Your tooth isn’t just solid bone. In the center of every tooth is a core of soft, living tissue that includes nerve endings. This core is called the pulp. It brings nutrients and minerals to your teeth to keep them healthy and make them grow. When you eat something cold and you feel it in your teeth, it’s the pulp that’s actually feeling the cold that penetrates the enamel of your teeth.
Most people have some sensitivity to temperature in their teeth. Some people can feel it more than others. If your teeth are extremely sensitive to cold, or if they suddenly become more sensitive, this could be a warning. Grinding your teeth can wear down the enamel that protects the pulp. A cavity or gingivitis can also expose more of your tooth to cold.
From the first tooth, the pulp monitors the health of your teeth. If a cavity drills all the way down to the pulp, you’ll get a toothache. These toothaches can be very painful! Visiting your dentist regularly will keep any cavities from getting that deep.