If eating ice-cream makes you say “ouch!”, you know how painful having sensitive teeth can be. Rather than skipping the ice-cream, you may want to know what some of the causes of sensitive teeth are and how to treat them. Many of the causes can be cured by simply changing to a sensitive toothpaste, such as Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief, but others may require treatment by your dentist. The most common causes of sensitive teeth are as follows.
You Eat Too Much Acidic Food
Acidic foods can strip away a layer of your enamel which may leave the sensitive part of your teeth exposed. Avoid the amount of time you are exposed to acidic foods. For example, avoid sipping on fruit juices throughout the day. Instead, limit fruit juices to meal times and drink water throughout the day.
You Brush Too Hard
If you tend to scrub your teeth from side to side rather than gently brushing them, this could be causing your tooth sensitivity. Using a hard toothbrush and applying too much pressure can wear away your enamel which exposes your dentine, leading to sensitivity. Switch to a soft toothbrush and brush in a gentle circular motion to lessen the damage and sensitivity.
Your Gums Have Receded
Gum recession can be caused by brushing your teeth too hard or it can happen naturally as you get older, called getting long in the tooth. As the gums shrink back, the root surfaces of your teeth become exposed and as they are not covered by enamel, they can become sensitive. The roots of your teeth are softer than enamel and can be worn down with your toothbrush. If this happens, you may require fillings which will cover the roots and help lessen the sensitivity.
You Have Too Much Plaque On Your Teeth
Constantly having plaque on you teeth can irritate your gums making them inflamed and causing them to bleed, called gingivitis. This can also cause your teeth to become sensitive. Brushing and flossing your teeth every day is the only way to remove plaque. This may be painful at first, but over time brushing will hurt less and your teeth will become less sensitive.
You Grind Your Teeth
Grinding your teeth over a long period of time can lead to loss of enamel and tooth sensitivity. As most people grind in their sleep, you may need to ask your dentist to make you an occlusal guard. An occlusal guard is similar to a mouthguard and is worn at night to prevent grinding.
You Whiten Your Teeth
With all the chemicals needed to whiten your teeth it’s not surprising that you may experience some tooth sensitivity afterwards. This can happen with whitening done by your dentist, at home or using a whitening toothpaste. Some people may experience sensitivity for only a short period of time after whitening but for others it may be ongoing. You may need to switch to using a sensitive toothpaste until the sensitivity subsides.
You Have A Cracked Tooth
The discomfort from a cracked tooth is usually more severe than general tooth sensitivity. You will usually feel the most pain when chewing or biting. A cracked tooth will require treatment by your dentist.
You Have Fillings That Need Replacing
Fillings don’t last forever and sometimes need replacing. The bond which is used to hold a filling in may have become weak over time causing decay around the edge of the filling. The filling may also be cracked which allows bacteria to get in, which can also cause sensitivity. You will need to visit your dentist to have your mouth examined and, if required, get the filling replaced.
You’ve Recently Had A Trip To The Dentist
Sensitivity following a root canal, extraction, filling or crown is not uncommon. It can take some time for your teeth to calm down and the sensitivity to cease. If the discomfort continues or gets worse you will need to go back to your dentist.