Tooth sensitivity is a relatively common dental problem. This term refers to those who struggle with discomfort and/or pain when their teeth encounter specific foods or drinks at extreme temperatures. This pain is usually sharp and sudden, but temporary, as the pain shoots into the nerve endings of the tooth. The Academy of General Dentistry estimates that over 40 million adults in the country have sensitive teeth. Fortunately, however, caring for tooth sensitivity can improve your condition and relieve some of the pain. To learn more about treatment for sensitive teeth, contact Columbia Smiles today.
Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
No one group is at risk for tooth sensitivity. It affects people of all races, genders, and ages. It’s a sharp flash of pain when you expose your teeth to air, sweet, cold, hot, or acidic foods. Some people even report tooth sensitivity from flossing or brushing your teeth.
In healthy teeth, your enamel protects the layer of dentin, which connect to the nerves that trigger pain. The dentin underneath the enamel is softer and less durable. Your gums protect your teeth roots. However, if your enamel wears down or your gum lines recede, this exposes the dentin. When the dentin allows acidic, stick, hot, or cold substances to reach the nerves, this causes the tooth pain.
There are a number of factors that may contribute to your tooth sensitivity, including:
- Brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush or brushing too hard can wear down the enamel, which exposes the dentin and may encourage gum recession.
- Periodontal disease: If your gums recede, this exposes the roots of the teeth
- Gingivitis: This disease results in the inflamed and sore gum tissue, which can lead to periodontal disease.
- Cracked teeth: When your teeth crack, they fill with plaque bacteria and infect and inflame the pulp of the tooth. It may also lead to an abscess.
- Clenching or grinding your teeth: This practice wears down the enamel.
- Mouthwash: Certain over-the-counter mouthwash contains acid, which can worsen existing tooth sensitivity and damage the dentin.
- Acidic food: Certain foods and drinks can reduce the enamel
- Dental procedures: After a teeth cleaning, root planing, crown replacement, or other dental restoration procedures, your teeth may be sensitive. However, the pain will go away after a few weeks.
Caring for Tooth Sensitivity
Caring for tooth sensitivity doesn’t have to be challenging. There are several things that you can do at home to make sure that your teeth aren’t causing you any discomfort. One essential thing that you can do is use desensitizing toothpaste. There are many brands available for sensitive teeth. You can ask your dentist for a recommendation, or you can try a few different brands until you find one that works for you. Whichever one you choose, though, look for fluoridated toothpaste, rather than tartar controlling.
Along the same lines, instead of using an acid-based mouthwash, use a fluoridated mouthwash. Fluoride protects the enamel around your teeth and improves your oral health in general.
In addition, make sure that you’re using a soft-bristled toothbrush and avoid brushing too hard. Try not to grind your teeth, or consider getting a mouthguard to wear while you sleep. Finally, stay away from highly acidic foods, which will wear away your enamel.
Get Help for Caring for Tooth Sensitivity
If you need help caring for tooth sensitivity, the experts at Columbia Smiles are at your disposal. We’re committed to your long term dental health and are proud to offer a wide range of useful dental services. To learn more about caring for tooth sensitivity, or to make an appointment, contact Columbia Smiles today at 410.690.4855.