Tooth enamel is the strongest substance in the human body and is vital to good oral health as it protects the nerve endings in your teeth. Sensitivity arises when the enamel wears down, exposing the microscopic hollow tubes (canals) that run to the dental nerves. If you have worn-down tooth enamel exposing your dentin, even brief exposure to hot, cold, acidic or sticky foods can make the tooth hurt.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity
–Brushing too hard and using a hard bristled toothbrush wears down tooth enamel over time.
Tip: Switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush carefully but gently.
–Eating acidic foods acidic foods such as citrus, kiwis, pickles and tomato sauce wears down tooth enamel.
Tip: Limit your exposure to these foods.
–If you clench your teeth while sleeping over time (bruxism) this will wear down the enamel.
Tip: Speak to your dentist about a custom made night guards that conforms to your bite to stop night grinding.
–Whitening toothpaste. Tooth whitening chemicals in your toothpaste can cause tooth sensitivity.
Tip: Switch to a fluoride based toothpaste that helps the enamel, or toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
–Alcohol mouthwashes (and other chemicals) can make your teeth more sensitive, even more so if the dentin is already exposed.
Tip: Avoid mouthwashes or use one that has fluoride.
–If you have receding gums, which happens with age, this expose dentin.
Tip: Brush and floss gently, and see your dentist about sealing your teeth and treating gingivitis.
–If you have plaque which isn’t being removed daily by brushing and flossing after eating, it will wear down enamel with time.
Tip: Brush, floss, and be sure to keep all scheduled dental cleanings.
–Dental procedures can temporarily make your teeth sensitive. Root canals, tooth extraction, crown all may cause temporary sensitivity.
Tip: Let your dentist know if it doesn’t go away because you might have an infection.
–Cracked tooth: A chipped or cracked tooth may expose dentin, making the tooth hurt.
Tip: Dentist may need to cap it or extract it.
–Decay around fillings can allow cracks and leaks where bacterial acids build up and break down enamel.
Tip: See your dentist who may have to replace the filling.
To put the kabosh on tooth sensitivity, please give our Smiles Dental team a call today at 360.335.3998 and let us help!