What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

In Dental Health, Dental issues by Dr. Mathew Palmer

Do you get dental sensitivity every time you have an ice-cold drink? Or are you wincing during your daily brushing or flossing? You might have what is known as sensitive teeth.

Tooth sensitivity is a common dental problem involving discomfort or pain in the teeth when hot or cold foods and drinks are consumed. The Academy of General Dentistry states that at least 40 million adults in the USA suffer from sensitive teeth.

How do our teeth become sensitive?

As tooth enamel wears away — typically over the years or even decades — it reveals your tooth’s delicate, inner part, called dentin. The dentin houses thousands of tiny tubes flowing towards the tooth’s core where the nerves work.

A less dense material than enamel, dentin contains tiny tubules that allow heat and cold or acidic or sticky foods to enter the nerves and cells within the tooth when the dentin loses its protective barrier of enamel. When the gums recede, dentin may also become uncovered. That may result in hypersensitivity. Often the pain is sharp and immediate, but it’s brief.

What causes sensitive teeth?

There are several common reasons for tooth sensitivity, and if you experience pain, it may be due to one of the following causes of sensitive teeth. Keeping an eye on the foods you eat, to how to brush your teeth, will help you stay ahead when it comes to dental sensitivity.

Brushing too hard

Irritation to the tooth often comes from brushing with too much force or using a hard-bristled toothbrush. Over time, you can destroy your teeth’s protective layers and expose microscopic hollow tubes or channels which lead to your dental nerves. When these tubes are exposed to high temperatures or foods that are acidic or sticky, sensitivity to the dents and discomfort can result. Switching to a toothbrush with smoother bristles is the simplest solution, and being gentler when brushing.

Poor oral hygiene

Dentin is revealed when the enamel is worn down, which contributes to susceptibility to tooth sensitivity. Reduce the chances of enamel erosion by brushing, flossing, and rinsing twice a day. Be diligent and routine-oriented while washing your teeth, including brushing with fluoride toothpaste, because your body’s only supply of tooth enamel is preserved and reinforced too.

Gums that are receding

When you find that your gums start pulling away from your teeth, it means your gums are receding. This receding of your teeth exposes dentin tubules inside your teeth, which lead to sensitive nerve branches. Receiving gum lines aren’t just caused by brushing too hard; if you have gum recession, be sure to consult your dentist and get a proper diagnosis to make sure you don’t have something more urgent that a doctor can handle.

Foods high in acid

Regular ingestion of high acidic foods such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, pickles, and tea can cause your enamel to erode faster.

Sugary Diet

Tooth decay, missing teeth, chipped teeth, and worn-down fillings or crowns can leave the tooth exposed to dentin, which can cause sensitivity. If this is the case, you would possibly only experience discomfort in one particular tooth or area in the mouth, rather than most teeth.

What to do about sensitive teeth?

If you have sensitive teeth yourself, you don’t have to endure the pain. There are things you can do to lessen the sensitivity of your dentures and improve your oral health. Luckily, it can treat sensitive teeth and improve the condition.

Because a more complex dental problem often causes sensitive teeth, it is vital to see a dentist and have the issue directly treated. Depending on the challenge, this may involve a crown, inlay, or bonding. If you have severe gum disease, then you will also need to treat it quickly.

If you’ve struggled from intense discomfort that prevents you from enjoying the things you enjoy, make an appointment today and see your dentist. That cold drink might not be so painful once you do.