Sensitive teeth are one of the most common dental problems. Many people try to avoid too-hot or too-cold food and drinks because tooth sensitivity can be such a painful condition. But few know why this can happen, or the many ways you can help your teeth feel better.
How It Starts
Your teeth have layers of coverings on them that help protect them from damage. Gradually, these layers can be worn down, and that’s exactly what happens when your teeth become sensitive. A layer called dentin under your tooth’s enamel contains small tubes that lead to the nerve, and these tubes are filled with fluid.
Different foods and drinks can cause the fluid in these tubes to move, and since there is a direct connection with a nerve, you feel the sharp pain of this fluid movement right away. Gums that have receded can also expose the dentin layer and cause sensitive teeth.
What can I do?
- Use toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth. Repeated applications can help your teeth to not feel the pain of the dentin layer being exposed.
- Use a soft toothbrush. Harder toothbrushes can wear away the enamel on your teeth, exposing you to more pain. There are even toothbrushes made especially for sensitive teeth that can be used.
- Contact our practice. As your dentist we may be able to apply a fluoride treatment, sealant, or other desensitizing material that can help.
- Avoid grinding your teeth. If you’re wearing down your teeth in your sleep, we can fit you for a night guard that can be worn to protect your teeth.
- Consider limiting your exposure to acidic food and drink. Carbonated drinks, wine, vinegar, yogurt, and other acidic foods have been found to wear down enamel. Using a straw to drink acidic drinks can help to limit your teeth’s exposure.
If you’re concerned about tooth sensitivity, let us know and we’ll make recommendations for your individual oral health.