Dentists consider tooth sensitivity to be a common dental problem. According to the latest report by the Academy of General Dentistry, approximately 40 million people in the United States suffer from sensitive teeth. People who live with tooth sensitivity state that sharp and sudden pain can interfere with their daily life.
‘Tooth sensitivity can happen to anyone’, according to Kate Brayman DDC, a cosmetic dentist in New York. It usually occurs when encountering certain temperatures and substances after dentin (the material inside of your tooth) loses its protecting covering of cementum or enamel. The dentists assure that it’s possible to prevent the issue and lead a normal life without being afraid of eating something hot or cold. Learn what causes dentin hypersensitivity and how to make it stop.
Causes of sensitive tooth
According to the experts in the American Dentist Association (ADA), here are the main causes of sensitive teeth:
- Acidic foods such as pineapple juice, mustard, citrus fruits, tomatoes, cherries, and carbonated beverages can encourage enamel reduction.
- Cracked teeth. If you don’t go to the dentist on time, cracked teeth can cause inflammation and even lead to infection and abscess. That’s why you should have a regular dental visit. It’s recommended to see a dentist at least twice a year.
- Plaque buildup. It may develop if you often eat sweets, drink milk and carbonated beverages.
- Brushing your teeth too hard. It can wear down your enamel and encourage gum recession. Consider using soft-bristled toothbrush since hard-bristled toothbrush can also be a factor that contributes to sensitive teeth.
- Gum recession. It can leave your root surface exposed.
- Teeth clenching or grinding can also wear down enamel.
- Using over-the-counter mouthwashes too much. These mouthwashes contain acids that can damage the dentin layer. That’s why using neutral fluoride mouthwashes is a better option.
- Dental procedures. Your teeth can be sensitive after crown replacement, or professional cleaning. Usually, sharp pain disappears within a few weeks after dental procedure.
- Gingivitis. It occurs because of plaque. It can resolve with good oral hygiene such as flossing, brushing twice per day, and using an antiseptic mouthwash.
How to reduce tooth sensitivity
If you experience tooth sensitivity way too often, consider changing some of your habits that contribute to this problem. Here is what you can do in order to protect and strengthen your tooth enamel:
Make peace with a toothbrush
People should brush their teeth twice per day in order to get rid of bad breath, prevent gum disease, and remove teeth stains. If you feel discomfort after brushing your teeth, consider switching your current toothbrush to a soft one. Also, you can start using a toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
Some kinds of toothpaste on the market contain potassium nitrate (an active ingredient that blocks the tiny tubules in the dentin). The dental hygienists warn that it may not work for everyone. You need to use a toothpaste with potassium nitrate for a few weeks in order to say whether it works for you.
Make sure to change the way you brush your teeth. You shouldn’t scrub your teeth vigorously since it can destroy enamel.
Avoid acidic foods and drinks
It has been proven that acidic foods and drinks can trigger pain in sensitive teeth. If you can’t limit eating all acidic foods and beverages, make sure to brush your teeth with soft toothbrush twenty minutes after eating.
Here is the list of the most common acidic foods and drinks:
Supplements and high-protein foods
Stop tooth grinding
As stated above, grinding can wear away your enamel and give a sensitivity problem. People do not always realize that they grind their teeth, especially when they are stressed or asleep. If you have unexplained jaw pain in the mornings, consider using a mouth guard at night. Also, try to notice when you clench during the day. Relax your jaw every time you are nervous.
Make an appointment with your dentist
Make an appointment with your dentist in case a desensitizing toothpaste doesn’t help you with your problem. A professional dentist can apply plastic resins to the sensitive areas of your teeth. You will be able to wear them for a few weeks or even years (depending on the material they are made of). Feel free to reapply them when your tooth sensitivity comes back.
The bottom line
Teeth sensitivity is considered a common dental problem. It occurs when your enamel is not protected enough. In order to reduce hypersensitivity, consider changing your toothbrush and using a toothpaste that contains potassium nitrate. Try to stop grinding and eating acidic foods. Also, make an appointment with your dentist to learn more about other options that can help you live a healthy life without being afraid of cold and hot foods and drinks.