Over 40 million adults in the U.S. have experienced pain from sensitive teeth. So what causes this uncomfortable sensation that’s so widespread?
The underlying cause is that the dentin, which is under your enamel (the hard protective layer covering your teeth) is exposed. The dentin has tiny tubes full of fluid that trigger nerves found in the pulp of the tooth when the dentin is exposed to heat, cold, or acidity. When that trigger happens, you feel pain.
Why does the dentin get exposed in the first place? There numerous reasons, but the most common are:
- Brushing too hard: you can wear down your enamel by brushing too hard. An easy way to see if you are brushing too hard is to take a look at your brush. If all the bristles are pointing different ways, you need to ease up. Using soft bristles is also a good idea to minimize enamel erosion.
- Bruxism (grinding your teeth): your teeth flex when you grind your teeth, which increases enamel erosion.
- Gingivitis (or gum disease): gum sensitivity can lead to increased tooth sensitivity because more underlying dentin root surface is exposed.
- Tooth decay: especially painful when the pulp is exposed.
- Certain whitening products: although there are more recent whitening options available, such as our Sinsational Whitening, that cause minimal to no sensitivity.
- Acidic foods: these foods increase enamel erosion, which exposes more dentin.
- Plaque build-up: especially when the build-up is near the root surface.
- Recent dental procedures: however, this sensitivity should only last between four to six weeks.
Now that you understand some reasons why you may be experiencing sensitive teeth, you should visit your dentist. Drs. Ali & Ali will be more than happy to help, so be in touch by calling (781)-237-9071 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, boost your oral health by reducing enamel erosion and take steps to:
1. Maintain good oral hygiene
2. Use a soft-bristled tooth brush
3. Use a desensitizing toothpaste
4. Be careful not to eat acidic food
5. Use fluoridated dental products
6. Get a mouthguard if you are grinding your teeth
Sensitive teeth is a treatable discomfort and with proper management, you have great chances of feeling better.
At Wellesley Dental Group, we can apply sealants, desensitizing agents, fluoride, as well as other specialized treatments for your discomfort. Come in for a consultation!