More than 75% people in the United States suffer from tooth sensitivity. It is a big proportion. Although, what tooth sensitivity really is? It is tooth discomfort (sharp pain) in one or several teeth, which is commonly triggered by cold, hot, sour, or sweet foods and drinks. Sometimes, breathing cold air also triggers the pain. The pain is sharp and swift, and it runs deep down into the nerve endings of your teeth.
Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
Sensitivity occurs when the layer that is underlying your teeth – the dentin – exposes due to receding gum tissue. The dentin contains thousands of micro tubules, which lead to the tooth’s nerve center, the tooth pulp. These microscopic tubules of the dentin allow the stimuli – for instance, the cold, hot, or sour food – to travel to the nerve in your tooth, which leads to the pain you feel.
Various factors can lead to sensitive teeth. Some of these are as follows:
- Gingivitis (gum disease): – Inflamed gum tissue may cause tooth sensitivity. Gingivitis leads to the damage of supporting tendons, thereby exposes the root surface, causing sensitivity.
- Recession of the gums: – Because of periodontal disease, the gums can recede or move away from the tooth. This exposes the root surface, causing sensitivity.
- Brushing too hard: – Using a toothbrush with hard-bristles or brushing too hard with a regular toothbrush can scuff enamel and expose the dentin. Such practice also causes the gums to recede from a tooth.
- Teeth grinding (Bruxism): – Clenching your teeth or grinding them may wear down the tooth enamel and expose the dentin
- Cracked teeth: – Broken or chipped teeth may allow bacteria from plaque to enter the pulp and cause inflammation.
- Mouthwash use: – Use of some mouthwashes may cause sensitivity. Many over-the-counter mouthwash products contain acids that damage the dentin of the tooth.
- Recent dental procedures: – Tooth sensitivity can occur following routine dental procedures, like teeth cleaning, crown placement, root planning, and tooth restoration. Sensitivity occurring after such dental procedures, however, is temporary. It disappears in four to six weeks.
- Tooth whitening products: – These whitening products may sometimes cause sensitivity.
- Plaque build-up: – The growth of plaque on the surface of the root can cause sensitivity.
- Acidic foods: – Consumption of acidic foods, like citrus fruits, pickles, tomatoes, and so on, can cause erosion of enamel.
- Age: – Individuals between the ages of 25 and 30 have the high chance of tooth sensitivity.
Steps to prevent tooth sensitivity
There are some ways by which you can prevent tooth sensitivity.
- Use a toothbrush with soft-bristles: – A soft-bristled toothbrush will ensure no abrasion to the tooth surface. It also ensures no irritation to your gums. Be sure to brush gently around the gum line to prevent wearing down of gum tissue.
- Maintain good oral hygiene: – Ensure to follow proper brushing and flossing techniques. It will help thoroughly clean your teeth and mouth.
- Watch your diet: – Regular consumption of acidic foods can cause enamel erosion and expose dentin. Therefore, control the consumption of foods that have high acidic content.
- Avoid grinding your teeth: – Grinding wears down teeth enamel and exposes the dentin. Use a night guard or mouth guard at night. Contact your dentist and he or she will help you custom-make a night guard or mouth guard.
- Use desensitizing toothpaste: – Plenty of toothpaste brands are available for sensitive teeth. By using one, you will notice a decrease in tooth sensitivity.
- See your dentist regularly: – Visiting your dentist at regular intervals helps a lot. Get professional oral hygiene instruction, tooth cleaning, and fluoride treatments on a regular basis as instructed by your dentist.
If you have severe discomfort, or if the sensitivity still persists after trying the above steps, talk to your dentist immediately. Your dentist can help you with certain dental procedures that help reduce sensitivity. Some of the procedures that your dentist may use to reduce your sensitivity are:
- Dental fillings
- Dentin sealers
- Fluoride application
Each of the above procedures helps cover your exposed root surfaces, which cause sensitivity.
If you are in Pennsylvania, suffering from teeth sensitivity, then Flenniken Family Dentistry can help you. Flenniken Family Dentistry, well-known, yet affordable dentists in Pennsylvania, is an expert in curing sensitive teeth. Using various dental procedures, dentists at Flenniken Family Dentistry help cover exposed root surfaces and cure sensitivity. They even offer excellent oral hygiene instruction that helps prevent tooth sensitivity. Contact them to know more about tooth sensitivity and how to prevent it.