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Pinpointing Sensitive Teeth Causes and How to Treat Them

Sensitive teeth are incredibly unpleasant and uncomfortable, especially when eating hot and cold foods. But what causes sensitive teeth, and how can you find relief? How can you treat them and prevent them from getting worse? This article will answer these questions as well as advice on when to see your local dentist about a potentially larger issue.

Read More: What Causes Tooth Pain and How Can You Find Relief?

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

Simply put, you know you have sensitive teeth when your teeth have a reaction to triggers such as hot and cold foods, brushing, or mere touch. At times, sensitive teeth may also feel discomfort at the passing of cold air.

What causes sensitive teeth in most cases is when the protective outer layers-enamel over the crown or cementum over the root-have worn away. This exposes the tooth’s dentin, which is full of tiny tubes with sensitive nerve endings running through them.

What Does It Feel Like?

You will know your teeth are sensitive when you feel stinging or throbbing pain, especially if your teeth are coming to close contact with hot and/or cold beverages, foods, or if you feel sharp nagging pains as you do something as simple as brushing your teeth.

How to Care for Sensitive Teeth

Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth

Several brands of toothpaste on the market are designed to soothe and strengthen sensitive teeth. Potassium nitrate, an active ingredient in most of these types of toothpaste, is the fighter that helps block the tiny tubules in the dentist. This is definitely a good place to start, but keep in mind that you should use it for a while to really notice the difference it makes in strengthening your teeth.

Avoid Acidic Foods and Beverages

Acidic foods and drinks are a major culprit when it comes to triggering tooth sensitivity. If you avoid excessive exposure to red wine, soft drinks, fruit juices and acidic foods such as oranges and pickles, you can save your enamel from being under constant attack. Limiting these foods and drinks may give you peace, and if you do indulge, try to brush about 20 minutes after eating them (not earlier, or the brushing may hurt your enamel further).

Stop Teeth Clenching and Grinding

Many people are unaware that they’re teeth grinders, but more so, many people are unaware of the damage that grinding and clenching your teeth can make on your enamel. A mouth guard or a simple change of your sleeping position may solve the problem while you’re asleep, but if you notice yourself clenching during the day, remind yourself to relax your jaw with your teeth slightly apart.

Avoid Teeth Whitening products

While teeth whitening toothpaste may seem like a harmless idea, if you have sensitive teeth, you should avoid it. The main agents of tooth whitening toothpaste is baking soda and peroxide, which are major contributors to tooth sensitivity. If you are considering tooth whitening, consult a reputable dental clinic and let them know about your sensitive teeth, and allow them to tell if you should proceed or not.

Don’t Brush Too Hard

Soft toothbrushes are ideal for people with sensitive teeth. If you’re not using a soft toothbrush, you could be risking wearing away at enamel which would increase the sensitivity in your teeth. You could also be wearing away at the cementum if your gums are receding. Another tip you should be diligent in following while scrubbing your teeth is to brush for a full two minutes. Non-vigorous brushing for a full two hours can do wonders for your dental health.

Talk to Your Dentist About Treatments

Before going in for any treatment, you need to pinpoint the exact cause of your sensitive teeth. This way, proceeding with any type of procedure will not be a waste of money or time, bringing you back to pain. But prior to committing to a treatment, let your dentist know about what’s going on and schedule a checkup so that they may ensure you’re making the best choice.

Instances Where Sensitive Teeth Can Be a Symptom of a Larger Issue

Gum Disease

Inflamed and sore gum tissue may cause sensitivity as it also causes the loss of supporting ligaments. The loss of these ligaments (mentioned below) exposes the root surface that leads directly to the nerve of the tooth.

Read More: Best Gum Disease Treatments
Read More: How to Spot the Early Signs of Gum Disease

Shrinking Gums

Gum recession is caused by gum disease or even hard brushing, and because the root of the tooth is usually tucked safely into the healthy gum, any exposure to it makes you more susceptible to sensitive teeth and tooth pain. Additionally, when the root is exposed, the cementum can be worn away. But unlike the irreversible enamel loss, gum grafts and other procedures may rebuild or restore your receding gums.

Cracked Tooth or Filling

Is there a chip or crack in your tooth or filling? Get it taken care of right away because broken teeth and filling may accumulate bacteria from the plaque (the soft, sticky film that builds up on your teeth if not taken care of), which can cause inflammation and other dental diseases.

The Takeaway

There are many different factors that contribute to your dental health and sensitive teeth troubles, but the takeaway is that you should always be careful when considering dental work, and you should also take measures to prevent your teeth from going through any further pain. Consult your dentist on how to proceed when it comes to taking care of your sensitive teeth and what can be done to reverse or soothe the pain.

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