Do you suffer from sensitive teeth? Do you get a jolt of pain from hot or cold foods, or even when your teeth are exposed to the cold air? If so, you’re not alone. A survey published in the Journal of the American Dental Association revealed that 1 in 8 Americans say they have sensitive teeth and experience tooth pain unrelated to dental decay or dental injury.
Sensitive teeth are caused when the protective layers on the outside of your teeth are worn down or damaged. These layers (the enamel on the crown of the tooth and the cementum that covers the roots) cover the dentin, a part of the tooth that contains microscopic tubules (small hollow tubes or canals). When the dentin loses its protective covering, the tubules allow heat and cold or acidic or sticky foods to stimulate the nerves and cells inside the tooth. This may cause hypersensitivity and occasional discomfort when you chew, drink cold or hot liquids, or when you breathe through your mouth.
What causes sensitive teeth? They can, of course, be caused by damage and decay. But beyond that, tooth sensitivity can result from:
- Worn tooth enamel from using a hard toothbrush and using a hard grip while brushing aggressively.
- Tooth erosion due to highly acidic foods and beverages.
- Receding gums that leave your root surface exposed.
- Grinding your teeth at night.
- Teeth whitening procedures.
- Sinus infections.
Fortunately, you don’t have to resign yourself to a lifetime of lukewarm food. There are many ways you can ease the discomfort caused by sensitive teeth. Of course, first you’ll want to check with your dentist to see if there is a serious underlying cause for the pain, such as decay under an existing filling or significant gum recession. If your tooth sensitivity is the result of a sinus infection, over-the-counter pain medications can help, too. In addition, you can try the following tips.
7 Ways to Stop Sensitive Teeth Pain
- Be kind to your teeth when you brush. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush – softer and more flexible bristles on your toothbrush will not irritate your gums and exposed roots as much as tougher bristles – applying proper brushing pressure and techniques.
- 2.Try using toothpaste for sensitive teeth. There are many toothpaste options on the market today that are designed specifically to desensitize teeth while brushing.
- Rinse with warm water. Temperature change is one of the most common triggers of tooth sensitivity. After brushing, rinse your mouth with warm water to avoid that potentially painful stab of sensitivity.
- Eliminate whitening/bleaching products from your routine. The active ingredients in teeth whitening products can trigger tooth sensitivity, and if used improperly, can damage your tooth enamel.
- Swap your regular mouthwash with a fluoride rinse. A fluoride rinse will help to decrease the sensitivity and protect your enamel from further damage.
- Cut back on acidic drinks. Acidic drinks, such as coffee, tea, soda, and juice are a huge culprit of tooth enamel erosion. Swap your acidic drinks with water to help preserve your smile and prevent tooth sensitivity!
- If you’re grinding your teeth, talk to your dentist about getting a nighttime mouth guard.
Tired of suffering from sensitive teeth? Make an appointment with us today!
Dr. Todd Hasty of Shadow Valley Dental Group is a premier dentist serving patients in Maumee, Ohio. At Shadow Valley Dental Group, you can expect gentle, personalized dental care and unmatched dental expertise. We provide comprehensive services including cleanings, fillings, root canals, implants, cosmetic dental services, and more!