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Causes and Treatments for Sensitive Teeth

Symptoms of Sensitive Teeth

If you notice that you have pain when you eat ice cream or drink hot coffee, you may have sensitive teeth. Tooth sensitivity is extremely common and can often be painful. The main symptom of tooth sensitivity is discomfort when eating or drinking something hot or cold. You may also notice pain while brushing or flossing. The degree of discomfort can range from mild to severe.

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

The outer layer of a healthy tooth is your enamel, which protects the crowns of your teeth. The middle layer is the dentin, which is softer than the enamel. When someone experiences tooth sensitivity, it is due to exposure of the dentin in their tooth.

Tooth sensitivity occurs for various reasons. Here are some of the most common causes of sensitive teeth:

Brushing Too Hard

Aggressively brushing your teeth gradually wears down your enamel and exposes the dentin layer of your teeth. Hard-bristled toothbrushes can also impact this. Brushing harder is not better!

Instead, try a soft-bristled toothbrush and use gentle strokes to remove plaque and bacteria from your teeth.

Acidic Food and Drink

Eating or drinking foods and beverages with high acidity levels can damage your tooth enamel and weaken your gum line. Sodas, sports drinks, breads, sticky candy, citrus fruits, coffee, and tomato sauce are all high in acid. Acidic foods and beverages can lead to tooth erosion and exposure of nerve endings, which results in painful tooth sensitivity.

If you do eat or drink something acidic, be sure not to brush your teeth immediately after. You should wait thirty minutes to an hour after consuming something acidic before brushing. This prevents further damage to your enamel while it is already weakened. Try snacking on fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, cheeses, and yogurt to strengthen your teeth.

Whitening Products

Everyone wants to have a shining, bright, white smile. However, some at-home teeth-whitening products add chemicals that are tough on tooth enamel and break it down. Let your dentist know if you have been using these products. They will discuss with you if it is the right choice for you and how it might be causing more damage than you think. If you are looking to brighten your smile, talk to your dentist about professional whitening treatment options to give you a confidence-boosting shine.

Gum Disease

When plaque and tartar build up on your teeth or around your gum line, you are at a higher risk for your gums to recede. This can also cause infection, inflammation, and gum disease. Gum recession further leads to exposed nerve endings on the root, ultimately resulting in sensitive teeth.

To prevent gum disease, it is pertinent to maintain healthy oral hygiene habits regularly. Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time and flossing at least once a day can help keep your gums and teeth healthy and strong.

Treatments of Tooth Sensitivity

Treating tooth sensitivity largely depends on the cause of why you are experiencing sensitivity. The good news is that there are several treatment options to try at home to eliminate the pain and discomfort you may be feeling.

Fluoride Treatments

Dentists frequently use fluoride because of its ability to keep your teeth healthy and strong. Fluoride is a mineral that naturally occurs in food and water, known for making your tooth enamel stronger and more resistant to cavity-causing bacteria. Your dentist may want to do a fluoride treatment with you and will likely recommend fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash to use at home.

Dietary Changes

Because acidic food and drink can be detrimental to the health and longevity of your teeth, you may need to reassess your daily eating habits. Try to eliminate as many acidic products as possible and replace them with foods that are rich in fiber and calcium to help rebuild strength in your teeth.

Dental Procedures

If you are experiencing gum recession, your doctor may want to perform a gum graft to cover any exposed roots. Root canals are another procedure that eliminates sensitivity. Speak to your dentist about what may be the best option for you.

Regularly Visit Your Dentist

By scheduling and attending your bi-annual dental cleanings and oral exams, the professional team at Lynn Dental Care is able to maintain your oral health and prevent future dental issues. We are dedicated to providing you the beautiful, healthy smile you deserve.

Learn more about our full-service dentistry by calling us at (972) 954-4434 today!