Sensitive teeth can prevent you from indulging in countless treats that may be too hot or too cold. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, tooth sensitivity affects around 40 million people in the United States. If you suffer from this condition, it is important to understand its causes and learn how to prevent it.
Why are my teeth sensitive?
Tooth sensitivity stems from a loss of enamel and an exposing of a tooth’s dentin. Dentin, the layer of the tooth found just below its enamel encasing, is comprised of many minuscule nerve endings. When dentin is exposed the nerves found within it are no longer protected. An exposure to certain foods and beverages (hot, cold, sticky, or acidic) can trigger the nerve endings and cause discomfort.
What causes tooth sensitivity?
Sensitive teeth can be the result of a number of issues including:
- Forceful Brushing: While brushing your teeth is essential to good oral health, a heavy-handed brush can have adverse effects. Brushing too aggressively can wear down tooth enamel and expose sensitive dentin. If this is an issue for you, avoid toothbrushes with hard bristles. Opting for a softer toothbrush and brushing more gently are the best options for avoiding tooth sensitivity.
- Bruxism: If you tend to grind your teeth, you may be putting yourself at risk of tooth sensitivity. Excessive grinding of the teeth (also know as bruxism) also wears down you enamel. If you’re a grinder you should wear a mouthguard.
- Tooth Erosion: A high intake of acidic foods can lead to tooth erosion and ultimately cause sensitivity. Avoid sugar and maintain routine oral hygiene to avoid erosion.
- Tooth Decay: A buildup of bacteria and plaque can cause tooth decay, and leave your teeth feeling sensitive. Visit your dentist for regular screenings and cleanings to prevent tooth decay and sensitivity. If you suffer from tooth decay, consider porcelain crowns to protect your dentin and restore your tooth.
- Periodontal Disease: Receding gums can expose your tooth’s sensitive root and also cause extreme sensitivity. Learn more about preventing gum disease on our blog.
Your mouth’s best lines of defense against sensitivity are daily brushing and flossing, and regular cleanings from a dental professional. Schedule your appointment with Dr. Rodney Raanan today and take your first step to preventing your teeth from sensitivity.