Do you experience pain like a jolt of electricity in your teeth when you eat or drink? You could have sensitive teeth. From acidic foods to certain toothpastes, a number of factors could be to blame. Here are the top 8 causes of tooth sensitivity, and some helpful steps you can take to find relief.
You brush too hard
Tooth sensitivity can result from brushing with too much force or using a hard-bristled toothbrush. Over time, you can wear down the protective layer of enamel and expose microscopic hollow tubes or canals that lead to your dental nerves. When these tubes are exposed to extreme temperatures or acidic or sticky foods, tooth sensitivity and discomfort can result. The simplest solution is to switch to a toothbrush with softer bristles and to be gentler when brushing.
You eat acidic foods
If the pathways to your nerves are exposed, acidic foods such as tomato sauce, lemon, grapefruit, kiwi, and pickles can cause pain. Avoiding these foods can help you minimize any discomfort.
You grind your teeth
Even though tooth enamel is the strongest substance in your body, grinding your teeth can wear it down. By doing so, you expose the dentine, or the middle layer of the tooth, which contains the hollow tubes that lead to your nerves. Talk to your dentist about finding a mouth guard that can stop you from grinding your teeth.
Excessive mouthwash use lead to Tooth Sensitivity
Some over-the-counter mouthwashes and rinses contain alcohol and other chemicals that can make your teeth sensitive, especially if your dentine is exposed. Instead, try neutral rinses, or simply skip the rinse and be more diligent about flossing and brushing.
You’ve got gum disease
Receding gums, which are increasingly common with age, can cause tooth sensitivity. If gum disease or gingivitis is the problem, your dentist will come up with a plan to treat the underlying disease, and may also suggest a procedure to seal your teeth.
You have excessive plaque
The purpose of flossing and brushing is to remove plaque that forms after you eat. An excessive buildup of plaque can cause tooth enamel to wear away. The solution is to practice good daily dental care and visit your dentist for cleanings every six months.
Your tooth is cracked
A chipped or cracked tooth can cause pain that goes beyond tooth sensitivity. Your dentist will need to evaluate your tooth and decide the right course of treatment, such as a cap or an extraction.
There is decay around the edges of fillings
As you get older, fillings can weaken and fracture or leak around the edges. It’s easy for bacteria to accumulate in these tiny crevices, and this can cause acid build-up and enamel break-down. Be sure to see your dentist if you notice tooth sensitivity between visits; in most cases, fillings can be easily replaced.
The good news is that tooth sensitivity is treatable. In fact, you might find that using toothpaste specifically made for sensitive teeth can help. However, these formulas don’t work for everyone. If your sensitivity is extreme and persists no matter what steps you take, be sure to see your dentist to determine the most likely cause of your tooth sensitivity and the best solution for your particular situation.