Tooth sensitivity can be difficult to deal with, especially when something as simple as drinking water can aggravate it. Teeth sensitivity has many causes, so it’s important to know what could be causing your sensitivity. Read over the list below to figure out what may be causing your teeth sensitivity.
- Brushing Too Hard: While brushing your teeth thoroughly is important for good oral health, brushing too hard can actually cause damage. Using too much force while brushing or using hard-bristled toothbrushes can wear down your enamel. When the enamel is removed, the nerves in your teeth become exposed, which causes your teeth to feel sensitive. Brush thoroughly, but gently to avoid experiencing sensitivity.
- Eating the Wrong Foods: Eating a balanced diet isn’t just important for your overall health, it’s extremely important for your oral health as well. Consuming too much sugar will cause the bacteria in your mouth to produce acids that can erode your teeth. After a certain amount of exposure to these acids, your teeth will become sensitive as the nerves become exposed. Keeping sugar and acidic foods to a minimum will reduce the risk of your teeth becoming sensitive.
- Grinding and Clenching Your Teeth: Many people unconsciously grind and clench their teeth, especially while they sleep. Grinding and clenching your teeth can wear down your enamel. Just like brushing too hard and eating harmful foods, grinding your teeth allows for access to your nerves, ultimately resulting in sensitivity. Wearing a protective night guard can help prevent you from grinding your teeth while you sleep.
- Teeth Whitening: While whitening your teeth may give you a beautiful smile, it may be causing damage to your teeth. Numerous people experience tooth sensitivity while using whitening strips, so what gives? The harsh ingredients in whitening strips may be brightening your smile, but they are weakening your enamel. To avoid sensitivity, keep teeth whitening to a minimum.
- Plaque Buildup: Plaque is constantly forming in your mouth, and if it’s not taken care of, it can lead to sensitive teeth. Plaque not only eats away at your teeth but also at your gums, causing sensitivity in both. To reduce plaque buildup, practice a good oral care routine that includes thorough brushing and flossing.
- Cracked or Chipped Teeth: Cracked and chipped teeth can be rather painful and particularly sensitive. When a tooth is cracked or chipped, the sensitive layer of your tooth is exposed, causing you to feel pain and sensitivity. Schedule a visit with your dentist as soon as possible to address the problem before it gets worse.
- Gum Disease: Gingivitis and periodontal disease can also cause tooth sensitivity. The gum line often recedes with gum disease, revealing the dentin in your teeth. Dentin is the tissue beneath tooth enamel that, when exposed, results in tooth sensitivity. Be sure to keep up with your oral care routine and see your dentist regularly to reduce your risk of developing gum disease.
Steps to Reduce Tooth Sensitivity
The good news is there are many ways to control sensitive teeth. You can:
- Brush and floss regularly. Use proper brushing and flossing techniques to thoroughly clean all parts of your teeth and mouth.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brush gently and carefully around the gum line so you don’t remove gum tissue.
- Use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Several brands are available. Regular use should make teeth less sensitive. You may need to try several brands to find the product that works best for you. Another tip: Spread a thin layer on the exposed tooth roots with your finger or a Q-tip before you go to bed. Use a fluoridated toothpaste, not a tartar control one.
- Watch what you eat. Avoid lots of highly acidic foods and drinks.
- Use fluoridated dental products. Using a fluoridated mouth rinse daily can decrease sensitivity. Ask your dentist about products available for home use.
- Don’t grind your teeth. Use a mouth guard at night
- Come in to see usat least every 6 months (or sooner, depending on your condition)
If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, try following some of the suggestions listed above. Also, be sure to schedule an appointment with Dr. Still to get to the root of your tooth sensitivity and find a solution.