Tooth sensitivity can cause sharp or dull pains in your teeth or gums. This problem is also called dentinal hypersensitivity, and up to one in eight people in the United States have it. A lot of people don’t know that there are effective ways to treat this condition. If you or someone in your family has shown any of the warning signs of tooth sensitivity, making an appointment with a qualified and knowledgeable dentist is one of the best ways to deal with this problem and get your teeth back to good health.
Symptoms of Tooth Sensitivity
Most of the time, pain or discomfort is the first sign that your teeth are sensitive. This can happen if you drink something very hot or very cold, or if you eat or drink something acidic. When they brush or floss their teeth, some people may feel pain. If you have any of these symptoms, your local dentist is a great source of information and treatment options that can protect your teeth from damage and make tooth sensitivity less painful or uncomfortable.
Common Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
There are many things that can make teeth sensitive. Some of the most common reasons why teeth are sensitive are as follows:
- Some people may have sensitive teeth because of their genes. This makes it more likely that these people will feel pain or discomfort when their teeth are exposed to heat or cold. If you think this might be your case, you should talk to your dentist.
- As your tooth enamel wears away, the nerve endings inside your teeth can become more sensitive to changes in hot and cold temperatures. This can happen if your teeth are decayed, if you brush too hard, or if you use rough toothpaste.
- If you grind or clench your teeth, you can also damage the enamel on your teeth. This usually happens at night, and it can lead to other problems like crooked teeth, headaches, and even broken teeth in the worst cases.
- Tooth sensitivity can also be caused by or made worse by the foods you eat. Acidic foods can break down the enamel on your teeth, making them more sensitive to changes in pressure and temperature. Foods like tomatoes, pickles, and lemons are often to blame when people have problems with their teeth being sensitive.
- Alcohol in mouthwashes can also trigger issues for sensitive teeth. If this happens, look for a mouthwash with less alcohol in it to lessen the pain or discomfort these episodes cause. You can talk to your dentist about the best mouthwashes to find out which one is right for you.
- Gum disease typically results in receding gums and increased sensitivity issues around the areas affected by this dental condition. Most gum disease can be stopped before it starts, but once it does, it is hard to get rid of its bad effects.
- Damage to your teeth or recent dental work may cause your teeth to be sensitive for a short time. If this goes on for more than a week, you may want to talk to your dentist to see if there are any treatments and to make sure you don’t have an infection that’s causing your pain.
Getting the right dental care can go a long way toward preventing or getting rid of the problems that are causing your sensitive teeth. There are treatments that can both ease your pain and get to the root of the problem to help you and your family have better dental health.
Treating Sensitive Teeth and Gums
Most of the time, the best way to treat sensitive teeth will depend on why they are sensitive:
- If you grind your teeth while you sleep, your dentist may make you a custom mouth guard to protect your tooth enamel. These night guards can offer real protection for teeth that could otherwise be broken or worn down by clenching or grinding your teeth at night.
- Your dentist may tell you to switch from toothpaste and toothbrushes that are too rough to ones that are not as rough. In some cases, a toothpaste formulated specifically to reduce sensitivity may also be recommended to help you manage this issue more effectively. Switching to a mouthwash without added alcohol can also have a real impact on the degree of discomfort you experience because of tooth sensitivity.
- Most of the time, avoiding acidic foods will help sensitive teeth because it will stop the erosion of tooth enamel caused by these foods. If you cannot eliminate acidic foods from your diet, be sure to brush and rinse your teeth thoroughly after consuming these foods and drinks.
- Fluoride might be able to be put on your teeth by your dentist. This can help to harden tooth enamel, which can provide a more effective layer of protection between the inside of your teeth and the rest of your mouth. Fluoride treatments and toothpastes with fluoride can help you avoid tooth decay and keep your tooth enamel strong and in good shape.
- Cracked, chipped, or otherwise broken teeth should be fixed as soon as possible at the dentist’s office. This can make it less likely that your teeth will become sensitive and will help your teeth stay healthy and bright for many years to come.
- Your gums and teeth will stay healthy if you brush them twice a day and floss at least once a day. This can make it much less likely that gum disease will cause your teeth to become sensitive.
- Regular trips to the dentist are a good idea not only to catch early signs of sensitive teeth but also to lower your risk of tooth decay and the problems that come with it. Your dentist will carefully check your teeth and gums for signs of cavities or gum disease. This will help keep your teeth healthy for a long time.
Working with a dental office can help you deal with all kinds of tooth and gum problems. The experience and knowledge of these dentists can help you and your family keep your smiles as bright as possible and your teeth as healthy and strong as possible for many years to come.
Dr. Motiwala in International Press
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