Combat Tooth Sensitivity: Know the Causes and Treatments Available

If you’ve ever sipped a steaming beverage or taken a bite of delicious but freezing ice cream and experienced painful, aching sensations in your mouth, you’re not alone. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, 40 million adults in the United States also experience tooth sensitivity.

This painful but common awareness happens when the enamel on the teeth is eroded away or damaged, exposing the softer tissue beneath it called the dentin. The dentin is home to small tubes, or canals, that lead to the tooth’s root. When these factors are in place, eating or drinking hot, cold, sticky, sugary, or acidic foods or beverages—or even sucking in a breath of cold air—can create significant discomfort as the agent hits the nerves inside your tooth. While sensitivity is one of the most widespread dental complaints, if you’ve been suffering from it for more than a few days, consult a dentist.

Sensitive aches and pains in your mouth can also indicate that there are other problems going on, including decay, a worn down filling, a cracked tooth, receding gums, or an exposed root. The Cleveland Clinic notes that there are a variety of leading causes for these conditions, including brushing too hard or with a hard-bristle toothbrush, which can wear enamel and gums down; grinding or clenching, which can make teeth brittle; plaque buildup; and even regular use of some mouthwashes that may contain acids. Additionally, some toothpaste brands are more abrasive than others, while the peroxide in whitening toothpastes can be detrimental to the strength of the enamel. That’s right, pearly white teeth do not necessarily equate to strong teeth. Frequent vomiting or acid reflux are also highly damaging to the dentition.

To combat sensitivity, there are toothpastes made specifically to block pain coming from the tubules in the dentin, though it may take several applications before you begin to feel a difference. Your dentist can also put sealants on your teeth or provide you with treatments that can be applied at home. Soft-bristle toothbrushes and gentle brushing strokes are recommended, and if you’re a grinder or clencher, using a mouth guard will help prevent that teeth-damaging behavior. When gums recede, a dentist may need to perform grafting surgery to correct this problem.  This is a procedure where tissue from one part of the mouth is transferred to the deficient area, covering the defect or damaged site.

Ultimately, proper oral hygiene is the surest way to protect teeth from wear and damage. If you’re already experiencing sensitivity, avoid acidic foods and beverages such as citrus fruits and soda. Instead drink water, and brush your teeth shortly after consuming damaging substances, which can help negate further damage and ward off painful occurrences. Be pro-active and consult your dentist if you are experiencing tooth sensitivity.
 

Dental Care   sensitive teeth tooth sensitivity

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