If a taste of ice cream or a sip of coffee is sometimes painful or brushing or flossing makes you wince, you may have sensitive teeth
Tooth sensitivity is tooth discomfort in one or more teeth that’s triggered by hot, cold, sweet, or sour foods and drinks, or even by breathing cold air. The pain can be sharp and sudden and can shoot deep into the nerve endings of your teeth.
Tooth sensitivity is an indication that the enamel on you teeth is starting to wear away. Enamel acts as hard coated surface to protect the softer and porous dentine that lies beneath the tooth surface. Exposed dentine carries hot, cold and other sensations to the tooth nerves, which is why the irritation is being felt.
If your tooth sensitivity is progressively getting worse then you should take the time out to have it checked.
Teeth without too much damage can have sealants applied to cover the exposed dentine, however if the tooth trauma has travelled into pulp or the nerves of the tooth, greater intervention may be required.
What can cause sensitive teeth?
- Brushing too hard over time or using a hard-bristled toothbrushcan wear down enamel and expose the underlying layer of your teeth.
- Tooth decay near the gum line.
- Recession of the gums away from a tooth as a result of gum disease or brushing too hard.
- Gum disease may cause the loss of supporting ligaments which exposes the root surface that leads directly to the nerve of the tooth.
- Chipped, cracked or broken teeth may fill with bacteria from plaque causing inflammation.
- Grinding or clenching your teeth may wear down the enamel and expose underlying layer of your teeth.
- Tooth whitening products may be contributors to sensitive teeth.
- Your age with tooth sensitivity high between the ages 25 and 30.
- Plaque buildup on the root surfaces.
- Long-term use of some mouthwashes containing acids that can worsen tooth sensitivity if you have exposed a layer of the tooth.
- Acidic foods such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, pickles and tea can cause enamel erosion.
What Can I Do to Reduce Tooth Sensitivity?
Steps you can take to prevent tooth sensitivity include:
- Maintain good oral hygiene: Continue to follow proper brushing and flossing techniques to thoroughly clean all parts of your teeth and mouth.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush: Soft bristles will reduce gum irritation and toothbrush abrasion of the tooth surface. Brush gently and carefully around the gum line so you do not remove gum tissue.
- Use desensitizing toothpaste: Several brands of toothpaste are available for sensitive teeth. With regular use, you should notice a decrease in sensitivity. You may need to try several brands to find the product that works best for you
- Watch what you eat: Frequent consumption of highly acidic foods can gradually dissolve tooth enamel and lead to exposure.
- Use fluoridated dental products: Daily use of a fluoridated mouth rinse can decrease sensitivity.
- Avoid teeth grinding: Use a mouth guard at night if you grind or clench your teeth.
- Visit our dentist regularly: Get professional cleaning, oral hygiene instructions, and fluoride treatments every six months (or sooner, depending on your condition).