For some people eating an ice-cream, drinking a hot drink or eating some sour foods can make their teeth hurt. This is referred to as sensitive teeth. For some people this is a constant feeling but for others it can come and go. The level of discomfort can vary, as can the triggers.
For some people it can feel sharp and sudden like their teeth are ‘on edge.’ For the people who suffer it can cause great distress and discomfort when eating and drinking.
What Causes Sensitive Teeth
There are a few things can can cause sensitive teeth.
Brushing your teeth too hard. This definitely doesn’t make them cleaner. In fact it can cause damage to the protective enamel layer of the teeth. Thus making your teeth feel sensitive. When brushing it is important to brush gently and with a soft tooth brush.
Gum disease. This can cause your gums to recede. Which in term exposes the root surfaces which can trigger sensitivity.
The food we consume. Acidic drinks and foods can erode the tooth enamel. Additionally stomach acid in the mouth can do the same damage. For people who have reflux or repeated vomiting as a result of illness their teeth can be adversely affected.
Grinding or clenching your teeth. Annoyingly this usually happens in your sleep so you have limited control over stopping. This can cause great stress on your teeth and wear away the enamel.
Chipped, broken or decayed teeth. This can result in the nerve in the tooth to become irritated and sensitive.
Dental work. Such as crowns, fillings or restoration. Even a routine clean and scale can cause temporary sensitivity. Your dentist will always discuss this possibility with you at the time of treatment.
What You Can Do To Avoid Sensitive Teeth
The first, and easiest, way to minimise the effects of sensitive teeth is correct regular brushing and flossing. If you’re not sure what your doing, or need a refresher, we are always happy to talk to you about your technique.
Soft toothbrushes do not places as much wear on your teeth. Sensitive toothpaste can also help. If you aren’t sure which one is the best for you, ask you dentist. If you do have foods or drinks that are acidic it is best to rinse you mouth with water afterwards and wait at least an hour before brushing. This is to prevent simply scrubbing the acid into your teeth.
By sticking to the daily brushing and flossing routine and having regular check ups with your dentist, your sensitivity may be minimised. However, if the pain is becoming too much and is affecting your enjoyment of food, it is important to see you dentist. They can identify the cause of the sensitivity and will be able to work out the best solution for you.
Don’t suffer in silence
We are here to help. If you are experiencing sensitive teeth, we want to know about it. Both your dentist and hygienist are trained to identify the cause and treatment.
It’s important to remember that some tooth sensitivity is caused by more serious problems, including tooth decay, a fractured filling, a cracked tooth or even a root canal problem. So don’t overlook the importance of a professional diagnosis by your dentist.