Do you suffer from sensitive teeth? Many people in the UK do. It’s an annoying problem, making your teeth feel uncomfortable or even painful when you eat hot or cold foods.
Don’t worry though, because in this post, we’ll look at the cause of tooth sensitivity, as well as what you can do to treat and prevent it.
What causes tooth sensitivity?
To understand what causes tooth sensitivity, we’ll first need to look at the anatomy of a tooth.
Teeth are made up of three different layers: the enamel, dentin and the pulp. The enamel is the outer layer, and it protects the tooth from bacteria and acidity. The dentin is the middle layer. It has small tubules that tell the nerves how hot or cold the tooth is. Finally, there’s the pulp, which contains the nerves.
Normally, our teeth can withstand quite a bit of heat and cold, thanks to the enamel. The enamel helps to dampen the sensations of hot and cold so that your nerves don’t go into overload when we drink tea or eat ice-cream.
However, when your teeth have problems, they can lose this dampening effect. This means that the nerves inside the teeth feel the full effects of heat and cold.
One way this happens is when your enamel wears down, either due to acidity or brushing your teeth too hard. When your enamel wears down, the dentin and pulp are closer to the surface of your teeth, making your teeth more sensitive.
This also happens with gum recession. Gum recession is when your gums shrink back from your teeth and expose the dentin and pulp.
How can I avoid tooth sensitivity?
As mentioned, tooth sensitivity is usually caused by gum recession and enamel erosion. To prevent these problems, it’s important to brush your teeth and gums twice a day. If you don’t do this, then you could get plaque and gum disease, which will erode your enamel and gums.
It’s also a good idea to cut back on acidic foods and drinks, such as orange juice.
Another tip is to make sure you’re using a soft toothbrush. This will reduce any damage you do to your teeth during brushing.
What should I do if I already have sensitive teeth?
If you already have sensitive teeth, then the first thing to do is to see a dentist. Your dentist will be able to tell you the cause of the sensitivity, whether it’s gum disease, enamel erosion, or something else. Your dentist may also prescribe you with treatment. This could be topical fluoride, for example, to strengthen your enamel. It might also be toothpaste that’s high in fluoride. In more extreme cases of sensitivity, your dentist might reduce the sensitivity of your teeth by blocking the tubules in the dentin with bonding agents and sealants.
There are also things that you can do at home to reduce your sensitivity:
- Make sure that you’re not brushing your teeth too hard. If necessary, buy a soft toothbrush. Remember to brush gently with small circles.
- Maintain a good oral hygiene routine, including flossing and brushing.
- Cut down on acidic foods and drinks.
Tooth sensitivity is an annoying problem. However, it’s usually easy to find out the cause. It might be that you’re brushing your teeth too hard or that you have plaque or gum disease. The best way to find out the “root” of your problem is to see a dentist.