Millions of people suffer from tooth sensitivity, but many don’t understand what it is or why they have it. If you’ve ever experienced a sudden sharp pain in your teeth when consuming hot or cold food, you are likely dealing with tooth sensitivity. Let’s look at the most common causes of this common condition.
What is Tooth Sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity is a common condition that causes discomfort or pain when exposed to temperature extremes, such as eating hot or cold foods and drinks or even breathing in cold air. It typically involves a sharp, sudden jolt of pain which quickly subsides when the stimulus is removed. This pain may be due to exposure of dentin (the layer under the enamel of teeth) by receding gums, worn tooth enamel, tooth decay, damage caused by teeth grinding (bruxism), gum disease, dental procedures such as bleaching or filling cavities, or other dental problems.
5 Common Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
Let’s look at the most common causes of this common condition.
1. Tooth Decay
One of the most common causes of tooth sensitivity is decay. When tooth enamel erodes away, it exposes the inner layers of the teeth, which are much more sensitive than enamel and can cause pain when exposed to temperature extremes or other irritants. Decay happens for several reasons, including poor oral hygiene, sugary diets, smoking, or drinking alcohol. If left untreated, decay can cause cavities, worsening tooth sensitivity and leading to further damage.
2. Gum Disease
Another common source of tooth sensitivity is gum disease, which occurs when plaque buildup results in infection and inflammation of the gums around your teeth. This can cause receding gums that expose parts of your teeth that are normally protected by enamel and dentin layers, leading to extreme discomfort when exposed to certain foods and beverages. Gum disease can be caused by poor oral hygiene habits and lifestyle factors such as smoking and eating unhealthy foods.
3. Cracked Teeth
Cracked teeth can also lead to sensitivity because cracks allow bacteria and other substances to enter the inner portion of the teeth where nerves are located. The cracks may be visible or microscopic – either way, they can create openings for bacteria and irritants to enter and trigger an uncomfortable reaction in your teeth. Cracked teeth occur due to improper oral care habits like grinding your teeth while sleeping or hard foods such as ice cubes that damage healthy enamel layers.
4. Grinding Habits
Grinding your teeth is another habit that can increase tooth sensitivity because it wears down enamel layers over time; this exposes sensitive areas underneath the surface that become vulnerable to pain when exposed to cold temperatures or acidic foods/drinks. To prevent grinding-related problems, consider investing in a mouth guard that fits comfortably over your teeth so you won’t grind them while sleeping at night (an activity we often do without realizing it).
5. Aging & Wear & Tear
As we age, our dental health changes too; enamel wears away with age leaving us more prone to developing cavities and gum disease – both of which increase our chances of experiencing painful episodes related to tooth sensitivity. In addition, everyday wear & tear on our teeth from brushing too hard or using abrasive products can accelerate these issues even more, so it’s important to practice good dental hygiene habits now in order to avoid future problems later on down the road!
Tooth sensitivity is a very common problem, but there are ways to prevent it from getting worse over time through proper oral care practices like brushing twice daily with a soft-bristled brush and flossing regularly; avoiding acidic foods/drinks; visiting your dentist regularly; wearing a protective mouth guard while sleeping; avoiding smoking/alcohol use; reducing sugar intake, etc., all play an important role in maintaining healthy dental hygiene habits! With some simple lifestyle changes combined with regular dentist visits, you’ll be able to keep those pearly whites safe from painful episodes related to tooth sensitivity!
Answer: The most common symptom of tooth sensitivity is a sudden shooting pain when exposed to certain temperatures such as hot or cold food and drinks, ice cream or cold air. Other possible symptoms include a tingling sensation in the teeth when eating sweet food or drinking acidic beverages like soda; sensitivity to brushing and flossing; and tenderness when touching the affected area.
Answer: Depending on what’s causing your sensitivity, there are several treatment options available from simple at-home remedies to more involved professional treatments. For mild cases at home you can try using special desensitizing toothpastes containing potassium nitrate which blocks off nerve pathways in sensitive areas and reduces inflammation. You should also pay close attention to your brushing technique – use gentle circular motions with a soft-bristled brush instead of scrubbing back and forth – as well as any possible dietary changes you need to make if acidity levels in food or drinks may be playing a role. For more severe cases it’s best to consult with your dentist who may suggest one of several professional treatments such as fluoride varnish applied directly onto the affected area combined with desensitizing agents like calcium phosphate paste in order to strengthen diminished enamel structure and reduce discomfort associated with sensitivities.