Have you ever experienced a sudden, sharp pain in your teeth when you eat or drink something hot, cold, or sweet? If so, you might be dealing with sensitive teeth, which is inconvenient and can put a damper on your favorite foods.
Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Teeth sensitivity is a common form of teeth pain affecting many people. Let’s talk about what causes sensitive teeth and what you can do to relieve the pain.
What causes sensitive teeth?
Anyone can experience teeth sensitivity at any age. It can affect teenagers and adults over 70, but it’s more common between ages 20 and 40. It also affects more women than men.
Teeth sensitivity happens when the teeth’s outermost protective layer, enamel, is worn down. It exposes the delicate dentin layer underneath, which has tiny tubules that lead to your tooth’s center that connect to nerve endings. These tiny tubules allow stimuli like heat and cold to stimulate the nerve endings, making your teeth sensitive.
Some common causes of sensitivity include:
Acid attacks from acidic foods and beverages can wear the enamel away. Acid attacks also occur due to conditions that involve vomiting, such as pregnancy, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and bulimia.
This is a common habit of clenching and grinding teeth that can wear away enamel. Some of its common triggers are stressful situations, sleep apnea, anxiety, and certain medications.
Brushing Too Hard
Aggressive brushing techniques and brushing in a side-to-side motion can wear enamel down, especially at the gum line where the teeth and gums meet.
The chamber within the tooth roots also contains pulp layers connected to nerve endings. However, tooth roots don’t have a protective enamel layer; they only have the gums protecting them.
Gums can recede naturally at any age, exposing the tooth roots. This allows stimuli to reach nerve endings, making your teeth sensitive.
Some dental procedures can make teeth sensitive. Patients that undergo teeth whitening may experience teeth sensitivity due to the whitening agents.
Discuss teeth pain and sensitivity with your dental team before any procedure.
Plaque and tartar accumulation can make gums recede and damage the tooth’s bony support. They can result in pocket formations around the tooth, making proper hygiene more challenging and exacerbating the issue.
Tooth decay, broken teeth, chipped teeth, and worn-down fillings, crowns, and dental restorations expose the dentin, causing sensitivity in one specific tooth or area of the mouth instead of throughout the majority of teeth.
Sensitive Teeth: What To Do About Them?
You don’t have to suffer from sensitive teeth pain. Here are things you can do to relieve sensitive teeth:
Maintain good oral hygiene.
One of the simplest ways to relieve teeth sensitivity is to maintain good oral hygiene. Continue practicing correct brushing and flossing techniques, and remember to be gentle.
Consider switching to a toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth. There are numerous toothpaste brands available for sensitive teeth; using them regularly should decrease teeth sensitivity. However, finding the right one that suits your needs may take some time. As a helpful tip, consider applying a thin layer of toothpaste to the exposed tooth roots before bed using a finger or a Q-tip.
You should also use toothpaste or mouthwash with fluoride to strengthen your teeth’s enamel. Ask your dentist for recommendations.
Use a night guard when you sleep.
Bruxism or nighttime teeth grinding increases the likelihood of teeth sensitivity. To prevent this, ask your dentist about custom-fitted night guard to wear while sleeping. It will help you avoid damaging your tooth enamel.
Avoid foods and beverages that trigger sensitivity.
You may also need to make dietary changes to alleviate teeth pain. Certain foods and drinks can worsen sensitivity, so be mindful of your consumption or avoid them altogether. This includes acidic drinks like carbonated beverages, fruits, and coffee, which can harm the enamel layer. Try to consume these items at a temperature that is not too hot or too cold for your teeth.
Use saltwater mouthwash.
Sometimes, easing the discomfort of sensitive teeth is as simple as rinsing your mouth with a mixture of warm water and salt. It helps balance your mouth’s pH levels, reducing the risk of bacterial growth and preventing plaque buildup.
Mix two teaspoons of salt in a cup of warm water, and gargle until the teeth pain subsides. Repeat it twice a day for the best results.
Use a toothbrush with soft bristles.
Using a toothbrush with hard bristles may seem to clean your teeth better. However, it can damage your teeth’s enamel and make your gums sensitive and bleed. Experts recommend switching from a hard-bristled toothbrush to a soft-bristled one to avoid this.
Try oil pulling.
Oil pulling can also help relieve teeth sensitivity, which involves gargling with coconut oil for 20 seconds, then rinsing with warm water.
Oil pulling has been used for years to combat plaque buildup and reduce the risk of bacterial growth. It also kills germs, freshens your mouth, and brightens your smile over time.
Teeth sensitivity is a common issue caused by worn-down enamel, exposing the dentin and allowing stimuli to reach nerve endings. Several factors can cause teeth sensitivity, such as dental erosion, tooth grinding, brushing too hard, gum disease, teeth injuries, and dental procedures.
You can relieve teeth sensitivity by maintaining good oral hygiene. Use a desensitizing toothpaste and switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush. You can also add to it by using saltwater mouthwash or oil pulling.
You should also avoid trigger foods and drinks and use a night guard to protect your teeth while sleeping. Consult your dental team before any procedures that can worsen sensitivity.
Say goodbye to teeth sensitivity.
Don’t let teeth sensitivity stop you from enjoying the little things in life. Our dentists in Durango, CO, provide teeth cleaning and preventative services that help relieve teeth sensitivity and maintain oral health. They also practice holistic dentistry in treating dental conditions.
Take charge of your oral health today. Choose Sunrise Dentistry.