7 Most Common Causes of Sensitive Teeth
Why Are Your Teeth Sensitive?
Do you experience sensitivity when drinking an ice cold glass of water or sipping a hot cup of tea?
Does tooth sensitivity impair your ability to diligently adhere to your daily dental hygiene regimen of brushing & flossing?
There are a number of reasons why you could be experiencing tooth sensitivity, from eating certain foods to using a particular toothpaste.
But that doesn’t mean you need to avoid foods you love or forego the floss – that would actually lead to more problems.
There are things you can do to lessen tooth sensitivity and improve your oral health, let’s take a look at some of the most common causes and what you can do to reduce your sensitivity.
7 Reasons Why Your Teeth Are Sensitive
1. You’re Using The Wrong Toothbrush
We’re not talking about the ongoing electronic vs. manual toothbrush dental debate, but more so the bristles and the amount of pressure you apply when brushing your teeth.
One of the most common causes of tooth sensitivity results from brushing too hard, particularly when using a stiff-bristled toothbrush.
When you apply too much pressure or use a toothbrush with stiff bristles you can wear down the protective layers of your teeth, which can lead to sensitivity issues when you indulge in that cup of hot tea or ice cold glass of water.
The easiest way to alleviate your tooth sensitivity could be as easy as switching to a toothbrush with softer bristles and brushing your teeth with a little less vigor.
2. Acidic Foods & Beverages
When the protective layers of your teeth are exposed, acidic foods such as citrus fruits can cause discomfort.
So, logic says that by avoiding these foods you can help you avoid any tooth sensitivity issues.
But do you really want to do that?
Maybe your sensitivity issues are caused by other dental health problems, like tooth decay & gum disease…and the only way to find out for sure is to see your dentist!
3. You Have Gum Disease
According to Sensodyne, gum recession is one of the leading causes of tooth sensitivity.
But what do receding gums have to do with gum disease?
A lot, gum disease (both gingivitis & advanced periodontal disease, periodontitis) can contribute to gum recession.
As the gums recede, the underlying dentin can gradually become exposed over time – just like with brushing too hard or using the wrong brush.
Only your dentist can determine – and treat if necessary – if gum disease or gingivitis is the cause of your sensitive teeth.
4. You Have A Cavity
The buildup of plaque on your teeth can cause your tooth enamel to wear away, which when left untreated will lead to tooth decay – cavities.
Just like with overly vigorous brushing, consuming acidic foods & drinks, or the presence of gum disease, you could experience tooth sensitivity when your teeth lose their protective enamel.
Get your cavity treated, brush your teeth with a soft-bristled brush, floss daily, and see your dentist every six months – or sooner if necessary.
5. Your Existing Dental Work
Did you just undergo a root canal, get a tooth extracted, or get a shiny new dental crown?
It’s quite common to experience minor tooth sensitivity following dental treatment, but you can also develop sensitivity from old dental work – like a cracked or worn down filling.
Dental fillings can weaken and chip, fracture, or break which can allow bacteria to seep in your tooth cavity, which in turn can cause acid buildup and wear down your tooth enamel.
If your sensitivity doesn’t go away after a week or two immediately following new dental work, or you suspect that your mercury fillings from 1975 might be the culprit, you need to talk to your dentist.
6. You Grind Your Teeth
Did you know that tooth enamel is the strongest substance in the human body?
It is, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t break it down by grinding your teeth.
And much like we’ve discussed with previous causes on this list when the dentin – the hard dense bony tissue forming the bulk of a tooth, beneath the tooth enamel – is exposed it can lead to sensitivity.
If you’re a grinder and you don’t know it, your dentist can diagnose and treat your nighttime teeth grinding by prescribing a custom-fit mouthguard or other appliance.
7. Tooth Whitening Products
Do you use tooth-whitening toothpaste, whitening strips, gels, trays, or any other DIY teeth whitening product?
Many at-home teeth whitening products contain chemicals which can cause your teeth to become sensitive, especially when these products are used too often or left on your teeth for too long.
How will you know if your teeth whitening methods are causing your sensitivity issues?
Read the labels, or stop using it, then see if you notice that your sensitivity has subsided.
But to be absolutely one-hundred percent sure, you should also schedule a visit with your dentist.
What Should You Do If You Have Sensitive Teeth?
Tooth sensitivity is treatable – by your dentist.
If your sensitivity is extreme and persists no matter what steps you take, be sure to see your dentist for an evaluation.
Only an office visit can determine the most likely cause of your tooth sensitivity and the best solution for your particular situation.
From recommending toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth, to more modern restorative composite fillings, to getting rid of your gum disease, your sensitivity won’t go away without knowing what is causing it in the first place.
Wayne NJ Dentist: Wayne Dental Arts office of Frank V. Maldonado, D.D.S.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Dental Patient News and has been republished here with permission. It has since been updated for accuracy & comprehensiveness.
Image Source: Pixabay