As the strongest substance in the human body, healthy tooth enamel is the foundation to good oral health. It protects the nerve endings in your tooth pulp, where the microscopic hollow canals run to the dental nerves. Sensitivity arises when the enamel wears down, exposing the dentin that leads to these canals and even brief exposure to hot, cold, acidic or sticky foods can make the tooth hurt.
Ten Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
No. 1 Brushing your teeth too harshly and using a hard bristled toothbrush wears down tooth enamel over time.
Tip: Switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush gently and carefully, and don’t forget the gum line.
No. 2 Eating acidic foods will wear down enamel and expose dentin, including, lemons, kiwis, grapefruit, pickles and tomato sauce.
Tip: Limit exposure to these foods as well as soda which is highly acidic.
No. 3 Clenching or grinding your teeth while you sleep (bruxism) wears down enamel.
Tip: Wearing a mouth guard at night can help you stop grinding. Custom-fitted guards work best because they conform to your bite.
No. 4 Whitening toothpaste. Tooth whitening chemicals can cause tooth sensitivity.
Tip: Switch to a fluoride toothpaste that helps strengthen enamel, or a toothpaste made for sensitive teeth.
No. 5 Alcohol-based mouthwashes and other chemicals make sensitive teeth hurt more, especially if dentin is already exposed.
Tip: Consider skipping the mouthwash or use one that has fluoride in it.
No. 6 If you have receding gums, which happens naturally with age, this can make your teeth more sensitive.
Tip: Speak with your dentist about a procedure to seal your teeth and treating the gum disease.
No. 7 Excessive plaque build-up causes the enamel to wear down.
Tip: Brush after meals and floss once a day, and be sure to keep all scheduled dental cleanings.
No. 8 Dental procedures can cause temporary tooth sensitivity. Root canals, a tooth extraction, can potentially cause brief tooth sensitivity.
Tip: Let your dentist know if it doesn’t go away in case you have an infection.
No. 9 Cracked tooth: A chipped or cracked tooth exposing bottom layers can make your tooth hurt.
Tip: See your dentist to cap it or extract it.
No. 10 Decay around fillings lets bacteria hide in exposed crevices allowing acid to build up and break down enamel.
Tip: See your dentist to replace the filling.
If you are having problems with tooth sensitivity, don’t hesitate to call our Smiles Dental team at 360.200.6995 today!