Millions of adults suffer from tooth sensitivity. When you eat hot or cold substances, you can experience sharp, temporary pain. Many things can cause sensitive teeth, and fortunately, there are ways to reduce it. First, consider the variety of things that could be the source of your dental sensitivity.
What Causes Sensitive Teeth?
Teeth sensitivity occurs when the dental layers are worn out and exposed along a receding gum line. These layers include the enamel, the dentin beneath it, and the cementum that covers the root. Hot, cold, spicy, and extra sweet foods can trigger pain. Some of the factors that cause this sensitivity include:
Tiny fractures: A cracked tooth or crown can cause immense pain and sensitivity, no matter how small the fracture is. Cracks can result from crushing hard substances like bones or using your teeth as tools.
Worn Enamel: Worn tooth enamel can result from worn out filings, brushing teeth with a lot of force, using a toothbrush with stiff bristles, or grinding your teeth. Once the enamel wears out, you will experience sharp, stabbing pain when you bite certain kinds of food.
Damaged Teeth: Tooth decay and cavities can linger on the enamel for some time without being felt. Once tooth decay becomes a severe infection, you may begin experiencing sensitivity.
Teeth Whitening: Some whitening procedures that use strong bleaching gels can increase your chances of experiencing sensitive teeth. However, pain is often temporary and goes away when you stop using these products.
Sinus Pressure: A sinus infection can cause pain in your jaw and teeth. Pressure and inflammation from the sinus infection will compress nerve endings leading to teeth sensitivity.
Infected Gums: Many adults suffer from periodontal disease. In the early stages, it is called gingivitis. Many people don’t know they have it until it escalates, and their teeth become sensitive.
Options to Help Reduce Dental Sensitivity
If tooth sensitivity has become a problem, you should visit your dentist for professional treatment. However, there are some things you can try on your own before your appointment, including:
- Use a soft toothbrush: A soft toothbrush will protect your enamel from wearing out, your nerves from getting exposed, and discourage gum recession.
- Special Toothpaste: There are several kinds of toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Desensitizing toothpaste has components like potassium nitrate that blocks pain from reaching your nerves. Your doctor can recommend some products, or you can try a few until you get one that works for you.
- Hydrogen peroxide: It is a mild disinfectant used to sterilize burns and cuts. You can use it to rinse your mouth to prevent inflammation and heal gums that cause teeth sensitivity. Place two caps of 3% hydrogen peroxide into an equal amount of warm water. Swish the solution in your mouth for thirty seconds, spit it out and rinse your mouth thoroughly with clean, warm water.
- Saltwater Mouthwash: This is an affordable and effective antiseptic that can help relieve pain and inflammation that causes sensitivity. Gargle a solution containing a half teaspoon of salt and lukewarm water twice a day.
- Nightguards: If you grind your teeth, you can use nightguards to prevent your enamel from being worn down.
Everyone responds to treatment differently, and some treatments work better than others. If you try all the above methods without achieving results, see your dentist for professional cleanings, sealants, and fluoride treatments. Other procedures like a root canal may have to be performed on severely damaged teeth.
Preventing Dental Sensitivity
It’s better to be proactive with sensitivity issues instead of trying to find a cure. Tooth sensitivity can be problematic and uncomfortable to deal with, so try to relieve sensitivity and pain with preventive measures, such as avoiding acidic foods.
Foods to Avoid
- High sugar carbohydrates
- Sticky candy
- Fruits like lemon and oranges
- Spicy food
Foods to Choose
- Vegetables and fruits rich in fiber
- Plain yogurt
Eating the right foods will help keep your mouth moist and assist in fighting bacteria. Drinking plenty of water rinses away acid that could erode your teeth.
Maintain Proper Oral Hygiene
Keep your mouth and teeth clean by brushing with fluoride toothpaste and a soft brush. Avoid picking at your teeth with sharp objects or crushing and opening hard objects with your teeth. Regularly change your toothbrush, preferably every three months.
The Importance of Regular Dental Appointments
Some problems like chipped teeth are hardly noticeable when they are painless. Schedule regular appointments with your dentist to have your teeth and gums checked for any possible issues. It can help to prevent severe tooth decay, cavities, and gum recession. If you do have any cracked teeth, they can be repaired before causing other problems.
Do You Have Sensitive Teeth?
Dental sensitivity is common in many adults, and several factors can cause it. Be aware of when it occurs, where, and how long it lasts. Look for patterns and bring them to the attention of your dentist. Chronic sensitivity may indicate a need for advanced treatment.
If you have teeth sensitivity and have found a treatment that works, please share your experience in the comments below!