Are you experiencing brief pain when you eat hot or cold foods? If so, you may have tooth sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity is a result of exposed dentin, the layer under the tooth’s enamel that has microscopic tubules filled with nerve endings. While the enamel protects the dentin in the crown, the cementum protects the dentin that reaches beneath the crown to the roots. While tooth enamel is the strongest substance in the human body, it can be worn down which exposing the sensitive dentin layer. Once dentin is exposed, even brief exposure to hot, cold, acidic or sticky foods can make the tooth hurt.
Causes and Tips for Tooth Sensitivity
1) Brushing your teeth too harshly and using a hard bristled toothbrush. Tip: Switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush gently. No harsh brushing!
2) Eating acidic foods. Anything acidic will hurt the nerves exposed. This includes, lemons, kiwis, grapefruit, pickles and tomato sauce, for starters. Tip: Limit exposure to these foods, along with soda which is highly acidic.
3) Night-time tooth grinding, or bruxism, over time wears down the enamel. Tip: See about getting a custom-made night guard fitted to your bite to stop grinding.
4) The chemicals in whitening toothpaste wear down enamel and cause tooth sensitivity. Tip: Switch to a fluoride toothpaste or a toothpaste made for sensitive teeth.
5) Alcohol-based mouthwashes can make sensitive teeth hurt more, especially if dentin is already exposed. Tip: Consider skipping mouthwash use altogether or find one that has fluoride in it.
6) If your gums are receding, your teeth will become more sensitive as the dentin is uncovered. Tip: You may need to have a procedure to seal your teeth and as well as treat gum disease.
7) If you have too excess plaque it will wear down tooth enamel. Tip: Brush, floss, and be sure to keep all scheduled dental cleanings to keep plaque under control.
8) Dental procedures can cause temporary tooth sensitivity. Root canals, a tooth extraction, or crown can make a tooth sensitive. Tip: Let your dentist know if it doesn’t go away in case you have an infection.
9) Cracked tooth: A chipped or cracked tooth can make your tooth hurt if the dentin is exposed. Tip: See your dentist to cap it or extract it.
10) Decay around old fillings allows bacteria into the exposed crevices, and when acid builds up it breaks down the 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 503.877.1844 today and let us help restore your smile!