Teeth sensitivity is a rather frustrating oral health issue that can prevent you from enjoying hot or cold foods and beverages. It can also keep you from chewing and, in some cases, even talking comfortably.
Overly sensitive teeth can be caused by numerous oral health, dental hygiene, and medical complications. Understanding the various causes is key to managing and preventing tooth sensitivity.
While numerous factors can contribute to teeth sensitivity, the top causes include:
1. Acidic Foods
Food lodged between teeth can cause damage to your teeth and gums. This is especially true in the case of acidic foods and beverages. The acidity from the food gradually breaks down the enamel, leaving the tooth’s sensitive root exposed.
Examples of acidic foods and beverages include coffee, red wine, soda, and citrus fruits like lemon, pineapples, and tomato sauce. To prevent damage from acidic foods and brush your teeth twice daily.
2. Rigorous Brushing
While the tooth enamel is strong and sturdy, you can wear it out with vigorous brushing. You should be gentle on your teeth and gums while brushing and flossing. If you experience pain or bleeding from your gums and teeth after brushing, you could be too rigorous.
Dentists may recommend an electric toothbrush as an effective and gentle way to clean your teeth and gums. Alternatively, you can get a soft or medium-bristled toothbrush.
3. Grinding Your Teeth
A lesser-known cause of dental sensitivity is teeth grinding, especially at night. The grinding motion can damage the enamel, leaving the tooth root exposed. If you grind your teeth at night or when you’re stressed, you should consult your dentist. In some cases, the dentist will recommend a mouthguard when you sleep.
4. Overusing Mouthwash
Most mouthwash brands contain alcohol. When used in excess, the alcohol may damage your teeth, making them sensitive. Your dentist can advise you regarding how often you should use mouthwash. If you experience prolonged irritation after using mouthwash, you can opt for an alcohol-free fluoride brand.
5. Concurrent Oral Health Issues
Countless factors are responsible for teeth sensitivity. In some cases, existing oral health problems can contribute to sensitive teeth. Some of the common causes linked to dental sensitivity include:
- Tooth decay
- Plaque build-up
- Receding gums
- Sinus infection
What Can You Do About Teeth Sensitivity?
Ideally, you should visit your dentist if you have overly sensitive teeth. Various home remedies may temporarily alleviate the pain and discomfort of teeth sensitivity, such as using saltwater rinses or toothpaste for sensitive teeth. However, if you are experiencing prolonged tooth sensitivity, the best and most practical option is to consult your dentist. The dentist will identify underlying issues leading to the sensitivity and offer treatment options.
Ultimately, it is essential to maintain good oral hygiene to protect your oral health. This will minimize your risk of developing dental issues or uncomfortable symptoms like dental sensitivity. Ask your dentist what you can do to protect your teeth, and don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment if you’re struggling with sensitive teeth.