Have you ever gone to take a bite of ice cream or take a drink of hot tea or coffee, but it’s just too painful for your teeth to bare? This might be due to teeth sensitivity.
About 40 million adults are affected with sensitive teeth due to a variety of causes as it is the most common complaint among dental patients. Eating or drinking something that may be too hot, cold, sweet, or acidic is commonly known to cause or trigger sensitivity.
But, what causes this sensitivity?
A layer of enamel protects your teeth, specifically the underlying layer of dentin. Dentin contains tiny tubes that run straight to the nerve in the middle of the tooth which triggers pain. When the enamel wears down due to certain types of food or drink, dentin is exposed and your teeth don’t have as much protection, thus causing sensitivity.
Top Causes for Tooth Sensitivity
1. Aggressive Brushing
Brushing your teeth aggressively or using a hard-bristled toothbrush might make it seem like you are cleaning your teeth extra well, but you can actually injure your gums and expose tooth roots from brushing too hard.
2. Acidic foods and beverages
It is best to just avoid or limit acidic foods and beverages, such as citrus juices, citrus fruits, soda, since they wear down enamel.
3. Tooth grinding
Do you grind or clench your teeth? This also wears down enamel and causes dentin to be exposed.
4. Whitening toothpastes
Whitening toothpastes are abrasive and contain various chemicals that gradually remove the surface of your enamel in order to remove stains. If you can’t give up whitening toothpaste, it is important that you do not overuse whitening toothpaste. Consider alternating toothpastes to avoid damaging enamel.
Similar to whitening toothpastes, certain kinds of mouthwash contain harsh chemicals and cause your teeth to become more sensitive.
6. Excessive plaque
When plaque builds up, it can cause enamel to wear down, so it’s important to brush and floss regularly.
Treatments & Preventions
The first treatment dentists usually suggest is to start using toothpaste made for sensitive teeth. Toothpastes such as Sensodyne, ProEnamel, Crest Sensativity, Colgate Sensative or ProRelief are some that can be used for help. Don’t expect them to start working until you have used them for at least a month and others even longer. Also don’t expect it to completely take away the sensitivity, but you will get relief. In fact I have found over 90% of all who try sensitive toothpaste, see positive results. But, specific treatments depend on the person and the condition. To determine an accurate treatment, you should see a dentist for an evaluation.
Using a toothpaste that contains fluoride to protect tooth enamel is also recommended, but the best way to prevent tooth sensitivity is to by practicing proper oral hygiene and regularly visiting a dentist for teeth cleaning!
Come visit us at Gentle Dental, Inc., the office of Kayvon F. Nezhad, DDS, and we would be more than happy to take care of all your dental needs including teeth sensitivity!