How to Prevent and Ease Sensitive Teeth

How to Prevent and Ease Sensitive Teeth

  • Posted: Feb 05, 2015
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Discomfort or pain from tooth sensitivity is a common and treatable dental problem. It is often noticed when consuming hot, cold, sugary and acidic food and drink. Pain experienced from sensitive teeth can range from a mild twinge to discomfort lasting for hours. For some people, even breathing in during a cold day can cause sudden and sharp pain. But teeth sensitivity isn’t something that has to be lived with. This article will not only explain how and why teeth become sensitive, but also how to prevent and treat the issue.

Tooth sensitivity can happen to anyone for a number of different reasons. The most common cause of sensitive teeth is the exposure of hardened tissue called dentin. This hardened tissue is found below tooth enamel and contains many tiny nerve fibers. Uncovered, the nerves are stimulated and teeth become sensitive. The most common symptom of sensitive teeth is a sudden flash of pain when teeth are exposed to air, cold, sweet, acidic or hot foods. Dentin becomes exposed when gums recede or tooth enamel wears down. Dental procedures such as fillings, bleaching and tooth restoration may also cause tooth discomfort, though the irritation is usually temporary and should not last longer than six weeks.

Tooth enamel can be worn down by simply too vigorously or using a hard-bristled tooth brush. Teeth grinding is known to potentially both cause and exacerbate the issue. The ingredients in whitening toothpaste may remove small amounts of tooth enamel in addition to the intended stains. Acids in food and some mouthwashes can also irritate the dentin layer, as well as tooth decay and plaque. Diseases that cause inflamed and sore gums may trigger sensitive teeth as the gums recede and expose the dentin underneath the tooth enamel. It is also interesting to note that tooth sensitivity is most common in people aged between 25 and 30.

The easiest and most straight forward way to prevent sensitive teeth is to practice good oral care. Regular visits to a dentist for check-ups are encouraged alongside daily tooth brushing and flossing. Keeping teeth clean stops the development of plaque and decay, which can cause teeth to become sensitive. A soft-bristled toothbrush helps to avoid harsh and damaging brushing. The strong presence of acid in certain foods can remove small amounts of enamel over time. It is especially important to avoid brushing immediately after consuming acidic substances such as wine, citrus fruits, yogurt and carbonated drinks because teeth are vulnerable to erosion.

Visiting a dentist after three or four days of strong sensitivity is suggested to ensure effective treatment, however there is no single treatment option for sensitive teeth that works for everyone. Based on the cause and extent of tooth sensitivity, your dentist will offer a variety of solutions ranging from specially formulated toothpaste to help desensitize teeth to more invasive treatments such as gum grafts and dental restorations. A mouth guard may be suggested to help with teeth grinding. In some cases, patients discover that their teeth sensitivity is actually caused by an unseen cavity or abscess due to relatively similar pain symptoms.

Not only essential to ease and treat teeth sensitivity, a visit to your dentist will also help avoid a potential recurrence. Finding the cause of the sensitivity is almost as important as treating it as many common causes of this kind of discomfort are lifestyle related. Depending on your diagnosis, your dentist may suggest some lifestyle changes to improve your overall oral health such as changing your tooth brush, toothpaste, brushing style and eating habits. Tooth sensitivity can be exceptionally painful, but luckily it is both treatable and largely preventable.

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