Having sensitive teeth definitely puts a damper on your lifestyle. No longer can you chug your hot coffee or bite down on your ice cream cone without feeling that familiar ache radiate through your pearly whites.
But what is it that makes your teeth feel this way? Even people who have healthy mouths can suffer from sensitivity, so it isn’t an issue of oral hygiene or cavities. Let’s take a look at the causes of sensitivity and how you can put an end to it for good.
The Main Cause of Sensitivity
In nearly all cases, tooth sensitivity is caused by fluid moving around in tiny tubes inside the dentin, which is the layer just below your enamel that holds your tooth’s pulp. This causes the nerves to be irritated, leading to the stinging pain you know as sensitivity. For many people, heat, cold, sugar, and pressure are triggers. Usually, the enamel protects the dentin from being exposed, but it can begin to wear down for a number of reasons.
You Grind Your Teeth
Many people grind their teeth at night and don’t even realize it. Your jaw is quite powerful, so grinding down on your teeth for hours on end can definitely take a big toll on the protective enamel surface.
You Brush Too Hard
Brushing your teeth is the best way to prevent tooth decay. However, make sure you aren’t brushing too hard. Doing so can scrub away your enamel. Switch to a soft-bristle toothbrush and apply just enough pressure to get in between the crevices of your teeth.
You Eat Acidic Foods
While eating acidic foods won’t burn away your enamel, they can have an effect if you already have a weakened enamel. The acids in foods like kiwi, tomato sauce, grapefruit, and lemons will stimulate the nerves in your teeth, causing discomfort.
You Whiten Your Teeth
Again, whitening your teeth doesn’t hurt your enamel. However, using tooth-whitening toothpaste, gels, or strips can expose your teeth to strong whitening chemicals that will irritate your teeth’s nerves.
You Have Poor Oral Health
It should come as no surprise that people with gum disease and excessive plaque are more likely to have sensitive teeth. Receding gums can expose more of the tooth’s surface, leading to increased sensitivity. Having plaque buildup causes enamel to decay, increasing sensitivity all over.
You Have Decaying Fillings
A filling is put into place to seal off cavities and prevent bacteria from getting inside the tooth. Over time, however, fillings can begin to wear down and might weaken around the edges. These tiny holes can allow bacteria to get inside and start eating away at your enamel again.
How You Can Stop Tooth Sensitivity
If you’ve identified one of these factors as contributing to your tooth sensitivity, simply work on altering your habits so it’s no longer a habit. Get a mouth guard to protect against grinding, brush your teeth with less gusto, cut out acidic foods, whiten your teeth less, practice better oral hygiene, or get your old filling replaced.
In addition to these tips, switch to a sensitive-teeth toothpaste. If sensitivity is affecting your lifestyle, Dr. Mann has other ways to minimize your pain. Call us today to set up your appointment and see how we can help with your sensitive teeth.