Tooth sensitivity occurs due to the gradual exposure of your dentine, resulting in nerve irritation. Exposed tooth areas can generate pain and even change or affect drinking and eating habits. For instance, taking ice cream can be a painful experience if you have sensitive teeth. Excessive consumption of acid-containing beverages and food could also increase your likelihood of experiencing tooth sensitivity. Common causes of tooth sensitivity include:
- Teeth Grinding
Grinding your teeth during the day or when sleeping may wear away your enamel. Consequently, this exposes your tooth's underlying dental layer.
- Gum Disease
Also called gingivitis, gum disease causes sore and inflamed gum tissue. If untreated, gingivitis could lead to periodontitis. Periodontitis occurs when gum disease worsens and damages the bone and tissues that support your teeth. Tooth sensitivity is a sign of periodontitis.
- Brushing vigorously
Brushing your teeth vigorously or using a tooth with hard bristles could wear down your enamel, causing dentine exposure over time. It could also cause recession of your gums.
- Acidic foods
Regular consumption of beverages and foods with high acidity content such as citrus juices and tomatoes could result in enamel erosion.
- Prolonged use of mouthwash
Some mouthwashes comprise acids and other chemicals that could worsen tooth sensitivity. These acids cause further damage to your tooth's dentin layer. If you experience dentine sensitivity, consult your dentist about using neutral fluoride rinses.
- Tooth-whitening products
Some toothpaste formulas have abrasive ingredients that might be too harsh if you have sensitive teeth. You should consider substituting your toothpaste if you suspect it as the source of increased sensitivity.
- Cracked tooth
A cracked or chipped tooth could cause pain that exceeds tooth sensitivity. In this case, your dentist will assess your tooth and determine the appropriate treatment course such as an extraction or a cap.
How to avoid tooth sensitivity
- Maintaining good dental hygiene
This involves adopting proper flossing and brushing techniques to avoid conditions such as gingivitis.
- Develop a good dietary habit
You must exercise caution when consuming highly acidic foods and beverages. These substances could erode your tooth enamel gradually, leading to dentine exposure besides aggravating the sensitivity. You should also avoid recurrent chewing of hard foods such as nuts.
- Regular dental check-ups
It is important to schedule regular appointments with your dentist for professional cleaning, fluoride treatments, and advice on treating tooth sensitivity. It is advisable to schedule annual check-ups in order to receive appropriate care.