We’ve likely all experienced it at one time or another… you take a bite of cold ice cream or a drink of an icy cold drink, and immediately feel a sharp pain in your teeth.
This pain is caused when the nerves inside your teeth are stimulated, resulting in pain or tingling. There are many factors that can lead to your teeth feeling sensitive, and a few things you can do to help reduce the pain.
Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
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There are many causes of tooth sensitivity, so it might be hard to narrow down exactly why your teeth are feeling sensitive. But knowing your triggers can help you control some of those painful moments, and help you decide when it’s time to see your dentist.
Not flossing regularly
This is a habit that is easy to ignore, but it’s one that can play a serious role in the health of your teeth. Flossing regularly helps to prevent plaque from building up between your teeth and along your gumline. Plaque on your teeth can lead to issues like gum disease, receding gums and tooth sensitivity.
Whitening your teeth
Having whiter teeth can offer a confidence boost, so temporary sensitivity should not turn you off. Occasionally, temporary sensitivity can be felt, yet it usually lasts just a few days to a couple of weeks at most. Tooth whitening penetrates the enamel yet safely keeps the enamel in tact, so you shouldn’t worry about damage.
The toothbrush you use
Generally, a soft bristled toothbrush is going to be better for your teeth than a firmer one. A soft toothbrush is going to be gentler on your gums and less likely to cause damage to your enamel, which can help protect against sensitive tooth pain. In addition, brushing too hard can actually harm your teeth and make them more sensitive, too.
Whether you have cavities
Cavities and tooth decay can expose the nerves in your teeth, leading to them feeling more sensitive and possibly painful. Getting your teeth cleaned regularly can help you find and treat cavities before they lead to painful sensitivities.
How you eat
Drinking pop, eating high acidity foods, consuming a lot of candy or fruit and even drinking a lot of tea can all effect the thickness of the enamel on your teeth. The thinner the enamel, the more sensitive your teeth will be.
How to treat sensitive teeth
Protect your enamel
The hard, protective layer on the outside of your teeth helps to keep sensitivities at bay and keep nerve endings protected. Protect it by staying away from acidic foods and brushing regularly with a soft toothbrush.
Use a toothpaste meant for sensitive teeth
Specialty toothpastes can help reduce tooth sensitivity by treating inflamed gums and protecting teeth while fighting against plaque buildup. Using a soft toothbrush can also help protect teeth.
See your dentist
Depending on the severity of your sensitive teeth your dentist might recommend getting a filling to cover an exposed root, using a sealant or possibly even getting a root canal.
Wear a mouthguard
If you grind your teeth at night, wearing a mouthguard can help protect your teeth.
Don’t eat cold or acidic foods
It stands to reason that if something causes you pain, you should naturally avoid it. Staying away from ice cold drinks, highly acidic pop and frozen ice cream can help alleviate the symptoms of tooth sensitivity.
See your dentist regularly
Sometimes sensitive teeth can be a sign of a bigger issue, so staying on top of possible concerns can help you avoid bigger problems down the road.
Some other problems might include:
- Gum disease
- Receding gums
- A cracked tooth
- A loose or missing filling
- An abscessed tooth
When faced with tooth pain it can be easy to ignore the need to visit the dentist, for fear of feeling more pain. But visiting your dentist is the surest way to keep tooth sensitivity and pain at bay. The longer you ignore tooth pain and avoid seeing your dentist, the bigger the problem is likely to get.