Have you ever taken a bite of ice cream and experienced sharp pain in your teeth? From hot and cold to sweet and acidic, different foods and drinks cause pain for millions of people with sensitive teeth. Thankfully, this is treatable. Here’s what to know about tooth sensitivity and how to treat it.
What is Tooth Sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity is a common issue for many people. Discomfort or pain can result from contact with certain types of food as well as hot or cold temperatures. Though this tooth sensitivity pain is generally temporary, it can recur whenever faced with a trigger.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
Pain and discomfort occur when the dentin, the layer beneath your tooth enamel, is exposed. Dentin is connected to your nerves, so when it comes in contact with certain triggers, you experience pain.
Anybody can suffer from tooth sensitivity, even if you take care of your teeth. To treat your tooth sensitivity, you need to determine the cause. Some of the most common triggers include:
- Brushing your teeth too hard, causing your enamel to wear down.
- Receding gums and gingivitis, which leads to exposure of your roots and dentin.
- Cracked or broken teeth, which cause inflammation and even infection that can trigger sensitivity.
- Grinding your teeth, known as bruxism, which can damage your enamel enough to expose your dentin.
- Excessive consumption of acidic food and drink or overuse of mouthwash with acids. This can damage your enamel enough that it can’t protect your dentin.
- Teeth whitening can cause sensitivity, though it is usually only temporary.
- Dental procedures, like crown replacement and tooth restoration, can cause temporary tooth sensitivity.
How to Treat It?
There are options for resolving tooth sensitivity. You can start by avoiding highly acidic foods, switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush, and using a desensitizing toothpaste. If you’re experiencing discomfort due to excessive whitening, you may want to pull back on those treatments.
For long-term solutions, you need to speak with a dental professional to determine the underlying cause and best treatment plan. They may suggest dental procedures to correct problems or provide better protection of your dentin.