Sensitive Teeth? What’s causing it?

What is causing you to have sensitive teeth?

Sensitive Teeth

Why do our teeth become sensitive?

Tooth sensitivity is one of the most commonly voiced problems with dental patients.

There are a few factors to consider when we take a look at the subject of sensitive teeth. First of all, let’s go over the very basic reason teeth can get sensitive. Sensitivity in the teeth occur where the enamel of your teeth has worn away, decayed, broken, cracked or otherwise separated from the inner layers of your teeth. Gum recession can also cause sensitive teeth. Enamel is the extremely hard, protective surface of your teeth. It prevents sensitivity, pain, and the infection of the inside of your teeth. When the second layer of your teeth (the dentin) is exposed you will start feeling sensitivity. This occurs because of tiny tubules (very small tubes in the dentin) that become exposed to the air, liquid and food that come into your mouth and that pass over your teeth. The dentin has at it’s core the pulp of the tooth, leading down to the roots. Air, liquid, and food pass over and inside these tubules and irritate the root of your teeth. This is the usual type of sensitivity people feel when talking about sensitive teeth.

Even more basic: the less protection on your tooth, and the more exposed the pulp and nerve of your tooth, the more sensitivity and pain you are going to have. This is what it basically boils down to.

Now, there are many reasons why you may begin to experience enamel loss on your teeth:

  • Consuming a large quantity of acid-containing foods and drinks.
  • Brushing your teeth too hard.
  • Acid reflux.
  • Bulimia

These are some of the more common causes of enamel erosion. Here’s some of the causes for receding gum lines which will result in the exposure of more sensitive dentin:

  • Gum disease/gingivitis/periodontitis.
  • Brushing your teeth too hard.
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth.

All of these circumstances above can contribute to sensitive teeth.

What can you do to help alleviate the sensitivity in your teeth?

Well, to begin with, you want to make sure the brushes you are using do not have hard bristles. Hard bristles on a toothbrush will actually wear away gum tissue and tooth enamel over time. I use soft bristled tooth brushes personally, and have never had a problem with them.

There are toothpastes out there that work by actually temporarily blocking those aforementioned tubules and therefore help to alleviate tooth sensitivity. Fluoride is used to help resolve sensitive teeth issues as well. Fluoride works toward remineralizing your tooth enamel.

If you are having trouble with sensitive teeth it is also advisable to avoid acidic food and drinks.

Also, avoid highly abrasive toothpaste. These types of toothpastes can hasten the wearing of enamel.

If your teeth are highly sensitive more than a couple days, it is also advisable to see your dentist for a diagnostic evaluation as to the cause of your sensitive teeth. They can help you pinpoint the cause of the sensitivity, and also help to fix the sensitivity entirely. They’ll be able to determine if your tooth is cracked, your dentin is exposed, your gums have receded, and other problems that may cause tooth sensitivity. It’s also good to see the dentist before the symptoms you are experiencing worsen. The more pain and sensitivity you feel, usually, the more likely it is that there are more serious problems with your teeth to worry about.

If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity that is not letting up, I implore you, go see your dentist.

On a related note, check out this blog article having to do with sore gums.

Stay healthy my friends.



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