Do you find yourself wincing when you brush or floss? Do you feel pain and discomfort after a bite of an ice cream or a hot cup of soup?
If so, then you are not alone. There are many who experience the same feelings of dental discomfort! The feeling of a sudden sharp, jolting pain shooting deep into the nerve endings of your tooth is known as tooth sensitivity. Also known as dentinal hypersensitivity, it occurs when the layer underneath the tooth’s enamel, dentine becomes exposed as a result of periodontal diseases, overaggressive brushing, tooth grinding, exposure to acids or other factors.
Let's have a look at all these factors in detail:
Periodontal disease affects your gums and the bone that supports the teeth and if treated can destroy the bone and other tooth-supporting tissues, exposing the teeth roots. If you have periodontal disease, you can develop sensitivity as a result of it.
You might be unaware of it but if you are brushing with too much force, you can wear down the protective layers of your teeth and expose microscopic hollow tubes or canals that lead to your dental nerves making your teeth sensitive.
Consumption of Acidic Foods:
Consumption of acidic foods and beverages on a regular basis causes the enamel to erode and rendering your nerves exposed. Regular consumption of foods and beverages like sodas, citrus fruits, pickles etc. with high acidic content leads to sensitive teeth.
Grinding your Teeth or a Recent Dental Work:
Grinding your teeth can wear down the strongest substance in your body, your enamel and expose the dentine, which contains hollow tubes that lead to your nerves. If you are a tooth grinder, talk to your dentist about finding a mouth guard that can stop you from grinding.
A recent dental work can also cause sensitivity, but it usually disappears in a few weeks. Dental procedures such as teeth cleaning, crown placement etc. can cause temporary sensitivity.
Restoring your Sensitive Teeth:
If you have ongoing tooth pain, see your dentist as soon as possible to rule out problems such as a cavity, cracked or chipped teeth. A dentist may suggest you different approaches and different products for long-lasting relief from sensitivity, but conservative procedures should be adopted before moving on to more invasive ones. Here’s the drill, use a toothbrush with soft bristles and do not use excessive force while brushing. Choose a toothpaste which is less abrasive and helps protect the enamel. Using a toothpaste twice daily for at least two weeks can give you an idea if it’s working for you. A check on the consumption of acidic foods and beverages, which cause erosion and trigger pain, can help reduce the erosion of the enamel.
One should always remember that a key thing to preventing and treating tooth sensitivity is to maintain good dental hygiene, which includes brushing at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing at least once a day along with maintaining a good diet.