Sensitive Teeth Can Wreak Havoc
From that first sip of morning coffee to a scoop (or two!) of ice cream for dessert, we sure look forward to these enjoyable daily rituals. But tooth sensitivity can wreak havoc on these guilty pleasures. In fact, 57% of dental patients suffer from sensitive teeth! Learn more here about what causes sensitive teeth and what you can do to prevent tooth sensitivity.
Our teeth are filled with a substance called dentin, which contain channels connected to the tooth’s sensitive pulp and nerve endings. In healthy teeth, strong enamel protects the dentin but when dentin gets exposed, we eventually experience tooth pain – especially when our teeth come into contact with hot, cold, or extremely acidic foods.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
- TOO MUCH brushing! Over brushing or brushing too aggressively can wear down enamel, making the teeth more vulnerable to pain
- TOO MUCH sugar or highly acidic foods. These food/beverage choices can contribute to tooth erosion and decay
- TOO MUCH grinding. Do your best to avoid teeth grinding – day and night – to keep enamel healthy and strong
- TOO MUCH teeth whitening and mouthwash. While there are pros to using both, be aware that they may also contain alcohol and chemicals which can lead to tooth sensitivity if used excessively over time
- TOO MUCH wear and tear. As we age, it is common for gums to recede and fillings to weaken, making us more vulnerable to bacteria and tooth decay. Yes, aging can literally be a pain!
Prevention and Treatment of Sensitive Teeth
Good old-fashioned dental hygiene is the key to protecting your teeth from sensitivity and pain. Daily brushing and flossing coupled with regular dental check ups go a long way toward staving off teeth sensitivity. Dr. E also recommends that patients do the following:
- Brush and floss gently (and replace hard-bristled toothbrushes for softer versions)
- Eat a healthy diet and avoid sugary/highly acidic food and beverages
- Stay AWAY from chewing tobacco
- Fix cavities and replace any worn fillings
BUT, if patients find that they are experiencing persistent tooth discomfort, extra intervention is likely necessary. Your dentist can apply a special desensitizing fluoride gel to help strengthen tooth enamel. In more extreme cases of tooth sensitivity, your dentist or periodontist can also perform a surgical gum graft to repair gum tissue and reduce sensitivity.
Don’t let tooth sensitivity become a pain for you! Lessen tooth sensitivity and improve oral health by understanding what YOU can do and be sure to see your dentist regularly to maintain a happy, healthy smile!