Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common complaints in America today. Several million Americans suffer from sensitive teeth in their lifetime, and the issue is growing. Tooth sensitivity can be described as short, sharp pain in teeth after eating/drinking something hot or cold, touching your teeth in a problem area, or exposing your teeth to air. Dull aching typically follows.
Tooth sensitivity is caused by the pores in your teeth’s dentin becoming exposed due to the enamel being compromised. Dentin is a sensitive tissue layer that lies underneath tooth enamel. If the enamel becomes worn down or if gums begin to recede, the microscopic pores in dentin also become exposed. These pores are extremely sensitive, especially when a liquid is passing through them. Irritation will occur when the pores experience a hot or cold beverage, touching them or gulp of air. This is the source of the pain.
Sensitivity can be an issue because it can cause you to change your eating and drinking habits, which no one really WANTS to do, but it may be necessary if the issue is painful. Eating copious amounts of acidic foods such as citrus fruits, juices or soft drinks, is dangerous for your teeth. Acidic food can break down the enamel on your teeth and cause many dental problems, including sensitivity.
Bulimia and acid reflux have also been known to cause tooth sensitivity. The acid that comes up when you are vomiting can damage tooth enamel and cause many dental issues as well.
What You Can Do
Changing tooth brushing habits can have a huge impact on sensitive teeth. Firstly, your toothbrush could be the root of your problem. Harder bristled toothbrushes can cause gums to recede, thus exposing dentin. If you switch to a soft bristled toothbrush, it could keep further damage from occurring. Many that suffer from sensitive teeth brush too often and too hard, so brushing less vigorously or less often can also help. There are also several toothpastes that are now specifically formulated for people with sensitive teeth. These toothpastes are used to try and rebuild or protect teeth from any further damage or sensitivity with the added ingredient of a desensitizing agent. There are also mouthwashes in this variety.
Cut down on the acidic foods if you are experiencing tooth sensitivity. Changing your diet can be annoying but it could be all the difference in whether or not you experience pain or discomfort.
If sensitivity persists, see a dentist.
When To Visit A Dentist
Seeing a dentist can be incredibly helpful when experiencing tooth sensitivity, because honestly, most people do not know what the causes are. A dentist can help explain and diagnose why you may be feeling sensitivity. Often times, tooth sensitivity can come from the formation of a cavity or unnoticeable abscess. It is best to see a dentist after a tooth is sensitive for about 3-4 days and is very sensitive to hot and cold temperature changes. After this has occurred, make an appointment as soon as possible.
If you have any questions regarding tooth sensitivity or any other dental issues, please contact the Lakeway Center For Cosmetic and Family Dentistry today!