Having a mouth full of healthy teeth is generally not a painful experience. Unfortunately, many people suffer from pain associated with sensitive teeth. Tooth sensitivity is very common and is often attributed to improper tooth care or diet. Sensitive teeth are painful when exposed to very hot or very cold temperatures. The pain can be so extreme that sufferers of this condition will avoid eating or drinking anything that is even remotely hot or cold. The good news is that there are treatments for sensitive teeth. When that sharp pain begins, it is important to visit a dentist immediately.
Sensitive teeth are caused by several factors. The underlying condition in tooth sensitivity is the exposure of the nerve that resides in the dentin within a tooth. When teeth are normal and undamaged, that nerve is protected under layers of enamel.
Any condition that causes the loss of enamel on the tooth is usually also the cause of sensitive teeth. Some of the most common causes of enamel loss are mechanical. Grinding of the teeth during sleep will actually break bits of enamel off of the teeth. Brushing your teeth with a toothbrush that is very hard or pressing too hard on the teeth during brushing will also cause loss of enamel. Receding gums and gum disease are also blamed for the sensitivity of teeth. Receding gums can expose the internal structures of the teeth to the elements, making them susceptible to sensitivity.
Some causes of sensitive teeth that are not quite so obvious include acid erosion and the use of tooth whiteners or mouthwash. Studies completed by the American Dental Association have shown that even over-the-counter mouthwashes, when used daily, can cause sensitivity in teeth. Tooth whiteners are notoriously well-known sensitivity producers because a whitener can remove thin layers of enamel. Plaque build-up and improper dental care are also known causes of sensitivity. Luckily, even with all of these causes, there are some simple treatments for tooth sensitivity.
Using a soft toothbrush will immediately help to decrease the pain caused by sensitive teeth. Maintaining proper oral hygiene is one of the most important factors when it comes to avoiding tooth sensitivity issues. Visiting your dentist twice a year is an excellent way to keep the enamel on your teeth strong and healthy. Using fluoride rinses rather than over-the-counter mouthwashes will also aid in the prevention of sensitivity.
If your teeth are already sensitive, your dentist will recommend desensitizing toothpaste. These special toothpastes are made to decrease sensitivity with use, so it will take a bit of time to lower that pain level. Avoiding sugary sodas and acidic foods will also help to decrease tooth sensitivity.