Tooth sensitivity, or dentin hypersensitivity, occurs when the tooth’s enamel is worn away, exposing the soft, yellow layer of dentin underneath. It is characterized as sharp pulses of pain in the teeth. Tooth sensitivity can be caused by a number of things. Over 3 million people report having some sort of tooth sensitivity each year. Luckily for you, Murfreesboro Family Dentistry is here to help. We’ll go over some of the main triggers for tooth sensitivity, why it happens, and then dig a bit deeper to find some solutions.
Triggers for Sensitive Teeth
If you have sensitive teeth, then you’ve probably noticed pain or discomfort when eating specific types of food or during certain activities. Some common causes of dentin hypersensitivity are:
- Hot food or drinks
- Cold food or drinks
- Acidic food or drinks
- Brushing or flossing teeth
- Using mouth wash
- Using a water pick
- Applying pressure on specific areas of your teeth
Causes of Sensitive Teeth
There are many things that can cause sensitive teeth – injury, improper dental hygiene, or even your eating habits. Some typical cause of dentin hypersensitivity are:
- Cracked or broken teeth – this can expose the tooth’s dentin, the soft yellow layer under the enamel, or even the nerve. If this happens, pain will likely be severe, and you should seek medical attention.
- Grinding – by persistently wearing away the layer of enamel on top of the teeth, grinding can lead to sensitivity in several teeth at the same time
- Medical conditions such as acid reflux, gastroparesis, or anything causing frequent vomiting – because vomit carries acidic stomach bile, the acid will eat away at the teeth’s enamel over time, causing exposed dentin and nerves predominantly on the back on the teeth.
- Brushing too hard – brushing harder doesn’t mean you’re brushing better. In fact, you may be doing some damage to your teeth if you’re brushing too hard. A gentle sweeping motion is all it takes to effectively clean away food debris from the surface of your teeth.
- Using harsh toothpaste or other products – not all dental hygiene products are created equally. Some toothpastes and mouth washes contain harsh chemicals aimed at whitening your teeth and promising lasting results. While this may be true, the results may not be what your expecting – worn down enamel and weak teeth. Be sure to look for the ADA seal on any dental products you buy.
Solving Your Hypersensitivity Woes
Sometimes tooth sensitivity can be remedied by using specially made toothpastes aimed at remineralizing tooth enamel. Once enamel is gone, it cannot be regrown, But, if some enamel remains on the surface of the tooth then it can be strengthened. Considering this, preventative and restorative care are your best bet. This involves reducing the amount of sugary and acidic foods in your diet, using approved toothpastes for sensitive teeth, improving your dental hygiene habits, or resolving any medical issue causing the sensitivity.
If you have dentin hypersensitivity due to an injury or a cracked or broken tooth, or if the enamel is completely eroded, preventive care is not going to help much. You may need to visit your dentist for bonding or crowns.
Have sensitive teeth and you don’t know why? Contact Murfreesboro Family Dentistry to schedule a consult.