What Causes Sensitive Teeth?
If you find yourself wincing in pain when you brush your teeth or drink something hot or cold, chances are you have sensitive teeth.
Sensitive teeth are the result of the exposure of the softer, inner part of your tooth called “dentin” that lies under the tooth enamel, says the American Dental Association (ADA). The dentin has microscopic channels with numerous nerve endings that are filled with fluid. The movement of this fluid (by eating or drinking certain things) results in the nerve endings reacting, causing a twinge of pain.
Tooth decay, a cracked tooth, worn tooth enamel, worn fillings and exposed tooth roots are the typical causes of tooth sensitivity. Proper oral hygiene is essential to keep your mouth healthy, including daily brushing of the teeth, but aggressive brushing causes injury to the gums and exposes the tooth’s roots. Brushing too hard or too forcefully with a hard bristled toothbrush can eventually lead to worn down enamel, as well as receding gums.
Here are some other causes of sensitive teeth from the makers of Sensodyne toothpaste:
- Grinding or clenching of the teeth also wares down the tooth enamel, exposing the dentin underneath.
- Gum disease (gingivitis) and periodontal disease increases tooth sensitivity as the gum tissues become inflamed.
- Some mouthwashes contain an acid that makes sensitive teeth even more painful. Neutral fluoride rinses are typically the alternative that doctors will recommend.
- Eating acidic foods wear down the enamel covering our teeth. Drinking a glass of milk after consuming tomatoes, citrus and fruit juices to help counteract the acids found in them.
- Teeth whitening methods with peroxide bleaching can cause brief sensitivity for teeth, usually only lasting while using the product.
Tooth sensitivity can be treated and is a “curable” symptom, according to the Colgate Oral and Dental Health Resource Center. Depending on the severity and cause of it, dentists may recommend desensitizing toothpastes, which stops the sensations traveling from the tooth’s surface to the nerve. Orlando Dentists can also apply fluoride gels to the areas of affected teeth, or other procedures such as fillings or crowns, depending on the severity of the case.