There’s nothing more refreshing on a summer day or after a vigorous workout session than a big glass of ice cold water. Unfortunately for some, that euphoric sensation is trumped by severe pain.
Tooth sensitivity strikes when the layer that lies underneath your teeth, known as the dentin, becomes exposed. This exposure can be from receding gum tissue (the protective cover that blankets your tooth’s roots).
The roots are not covered by hard enamel like your teeth and are made up of thousands of tiny tubes that lead to the tooth’s nerve centre. These tubes are what give your teeth sensations such as hot and cold by reaching the nerve in your tooth. This triggers that painful sensation when you bite into something that is too hot, too cold, or sometimes even too sweet.
However, receding gums isn’t the only cause of sensitive teeth. There are numerous other causes, such as:
- Brushing too hard
This won’t happen over night, but if you’re using a hard-bristled toothbrush and are really putting all your might into teeth brushing, you can wear down your enamel and gums over time.
- Gum disease and recession
As aforementioned, if you suffer from periodontal disease (gum disease, gingivitis), the root surface of your gums will become exposed. Receding gums, along with sore gum tissue, play a large part in tooth sensitivity.
- Cracked teeth
If you’ve chipped or broken a tooth, it could fill with bacteria from plaque and move into the tooth’s pulp chamber (where the blood vessels and connective tissue live) and cause the area to become inflamed and thus, more sensitive.
- Bruxism (teeth grinding)
Clenching and grinding your teeth wears down the enamel, exposing the underlying dentin.
- Teeth whitening products
Baking soda and peroxide are ingredients generally used in teeth whitening toothpastes, strips and molds. These ingredients can cause teeth sensitivity because of their bleaching effect.
- Acidic foods
Citrus fruits, pickles, tomatoes and even tea all have a high acid content. These foods cause enamel to erode an increase your chances of having sensitive teeth.
- Overuse of mouthwash
Like acidic foods, over-the-counter mouthwashes also contain acids that can worsen tooth sensitivity. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t use them regularly. It’s when mouthwash is overused that it contributes to tooth sensitivity.
- Regular dental procedures
Teeth cleaning, crown placement, tooth restoration and other typical dental procedures can add to temporary tooth sensitivity. Rest assured that with procedures like these, this sensitivity goes away within a few weeks.
Pinpointing your reason for sensitive teeth is essential to solving the problem, and the only way you can do that effectively is by visiting your dentist. Book your appointment today and learn what you can do to curb your aches.