Do you find yourself wincing every time you eat your ice-cold treat? Or perhaps when you brush or floss your teeth?
You could be experiencing tooth sensitivity. You don’t have to worry, though, as there are lots of things you can do to lessen this discomfort.
Among them is knowing what the most common causes are, so you can avoid them and prevent tooth sensitivity from occurring in the first place.
Toothbrushing is good for your oral health, but doing it with too much gusto can actually be harmful to your teeth.
Vigorous brushing can wear down the tooth enamel and expose the dentin underneath it. The dentin consists of small tubules that connect directly to the pulp, which contains nerves.
When these tubules are exposed to extreme heat or cold, the nerves are stimulated resulting to tooth sensitivity. To avoid thinning out your enamel, brush more gently using a soft-bristled toothbrush.
Acidic foods can also wear down the tooth enamel just like vigorous brushing does.
The only difference between the two is that acids cause chemical dissolution, while brushing causes mechanical wearing.
You don’t have to stay away from these foods. Instead, you can just rinse your mouth with water right after eating any acidic food to wash away the acids and limit their contact with your teeth. And be sure to wait for at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth.
The dissolution caused by the acid plus the mechanical action of your brush will only make the problem even worse.
Again, even though the enamel is the hardest and strongest substance in the body, it can easily be worn down by various mechanical factors.
One is vigorous brushing, and another is by bruxism or tooth grinding. It causes sensitivity in the same way as the first two.
To solve this oral habit, consult your dentist for recommendations and fabrication of a protective mouth-guard that you can use at night.
Gum disease, caused by excessive accumulation of plaque on tooth surface, lead to gum recession and exposure of the tooth roots.
Unlike your tooth crown which has hard, strong enamel to protect it, the cementum covering the tooth root is softer and therefore more prone to dissolution and mechanical wear.
In such case, your dentist will manage the underlying problem first then prescribe something that will help seal your teeth.
It is not uncommon to experience some sensitivity after undergoing certain dental procedures. These include professional cleaning, placement of restorations, root canal treatment, or even extraction.
The sensitivity induced by these procedures can last for a couple of days and should not be a cause of concern because it will go away on its own.
However, if the symptom persists and/or gets worse, contact your dentist immediately. Only your dentist will know what to do and give the best advice for your particular situation.