Tooth sensitivity is a common dental complaint in the US. At least about 45 million adults in America suffer from it, according to the Academy of General Dentistry. The problem makes you feel discomfort or pain in your teeth whenever you consume something hot, cold or sugary.
What are those things that could make your teeth become sensitive to certain stimuli? What are the options available to you for combating tooth sensitivity? Continue reading to learn about factors that could cause the problem and what you can do to correct it.
Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
Anybody can suffer from tooth sensitivity – It is not restricted to an age group, a gender, or a race. There are several factors that could make your teeth become sensitive, but the most common ones include:
Tooth decay and gum issues – Tooth decay, or cavities, close to your gum line can make your teeth to become sensitive to certain stimuli due to loss of adequate protection. Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis), gum recession and periodontitis (advanced gum disease) expose the root of your tooth and dentin, leading to sensitivity.
Cracked teeth – A crack in a tooth can apparently make it sensitive to cold, heat or sweets. Bacteria from plaque buildup due to poor oral care can lodge in these cracks, with this capable of resulting in severe infections and abscess in some cases.
Excessive tooth care – It turns out you can possibly cause a dental problem when trying to ensure proper oral hygiene. You could make your teeth to become more sensitive when you brush them too hard or use teeth whitening products or acid-containing mouthwashes excessively. Any of these can lead to enamel loss, in addition to sugars and acids from certain foods.
Tooth grinding – You are at risk of losing enamel, the hard surface of your teeth, through excessive grinding, a condition referred to as bruxism. The wear of tooth enamel can eventually lead to exposure of nerves, which is when you start to feel pain or discomfort from cold, hot or sweet foods.
In addition, tooth sensitivity may be an effect of aging.
Solutions to Tooth Sensitivity
There are several things that can be done to help correct tooth sensitivity; your dentist can advise on the best options for you. For informational purposes, the possible solutions to this dental complaint include:
Soft toothbrush – Your choice of toothbrush has a role to play in tooth sensitivity. The ideal type to use to guard against this problem is one with soft bristles, but still effective enough to get rid of buildup on and around your teeth. This lessens the effect of hard brushing.
Desensitizing toothpaste – It will help if you choose a type of toothpaste that is made especially for people with sensitive teeth and that includes fluoride. This typically helps by occluding or closing up microscopic tubules in your teeth to prevent discomfort-inducing stimulation of nerves and cells.
Gentle flossing – You can also get help in dealing with a sensitive tooth by ensuring that you floss gently whenever you are doing that. Floss according to the recommendations of the American Dental Association, using an 18-inch piece and gently sliding it up and down between your teeth.
Acidic food avoidance – Since they are a major cause of enamel loss, foods that are known to produce harmful acids should be avoided as much as possible. These include fruit juices, coffee, and sports drinks.
If you have excessive tooth grinding issue, you should consider getting a mouth guard to avert further enamel loss. You can also get relief from tooth sensitivity symptoms by using warm water when brushing if you observe that cold water is a trigger.
You could also get in touch with your dentist for help, especially when your tooth sensitivity drags on regardless of everything you might have done. There are procedures that can help, including bonding, fluoride varnish, sealants, crowns, and root canals.