Tooth sensitivity is quite common, but that doesn’t make it any less painful and challenging. Cold or hot foods or sweet or sour flavors may be hard to tolerate, and brushing can even be painful. This can mean tooth sensitivity can negatively impact your day-to-day life.
Accurate estimates of how many people suffer from sensitive teeth are hard to come by but are as high as fifty percent of adults. Read on for more information on the underlying causes and triggers of tooth sensitivity, plus helpful suggestions for finding relief.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity is caused when the inner material of the tooth (dentin) becomes exposed. This can happen when the protective enamel that covers dentin is worn away. It can also happen due to gum recession. Therefore preventing tooth sensitivity has a lot to do with protecting the health of your teeth and gums.
Using the Wrong Toothbrush
The toothbrush you choose can actually have an effect on how sensitive your teeth are. Many people think that choosing a medium or hard-bristled brush will clean their teeth more thoroughly. However, it is better to choose a soft-bristled brush instead. Harder brushes can damage tooth enamel. As we mentioned, when the enamel is worn away, the more sensitive parts of teeth are exposed, leading to sensitivity.
Choosing the Wrong Toothpaste
To prevent loss of enamel, choose toothpaste with fluoride. Fluoride helps strengthen and maintain tooth enamel, however, it will not rebuild it once it is lost.
If you already have tooth sensitivity, there are toothpaste options that actually work to reduce it. Specially designed compounds (such as potassium nitrate) in these kinds of toothpaste shield nerve endings from irritants and block pain signals to your brain. It only takes a few days of using this type of toothpaste to notice a difference.
Everyone wants whiter, brighter teeth, right? Unfortunately, many tooth-whitening products and kits can result in sensitivity. Whitening toothpaste can be abrasive and wear away protective enamel. Over-the-counter kits often contain harsh bleaching compounds that have a similar effect.
Talk to our office if you have sensitive teeth and are interested in whitening. Professional treatments get more dramatic results with less damage.
Not Treating Tooth Grinding
Like abrasive toothpaste, grinding your teeth can wear away your tooth enamel. This often occurs while you sleep, so you should talk to your dentist about a nightguard to protect your teeth at night.
Missing Dental Cleanings
Excessive buildup of plaque can wear away tooth enamel and lead to gum disease. Plaque that remains on teeth will turn into tartar, and you cannot remove it yourself. It is essential to see your dentist twice per year to get a professional cleaning.
Sugary and acidic foods can wear away your tooth enamel. Acidic foods directly wear away enamel. On the other hand, when we eat sugar, the naturally occurring bacteria in our mouths feed on that sugar, and a byproduct will be acids that can wear away enamel and cause tooth decay and gum disease. Eating a healthy diet with these foods in moderation can help with oral health and tooth sensitivity.
Solving Tooth Sensitivity
If you are suffering from tooth sensitivity, make a dental appointment. There may be several treatments that could help, such as professional fluoride treatment, dental bonding, crowns, and gum grafting.
Which treatment is best will depend on the cause and severity of your tooth sensitivity. Our expert team is committed to providing high-quality dental care while making your smile look and feel better.