Do your teeth hurt every time you eat something cold (or hot)? Does brushing and flossing cause you pain? If so, you may have a condition known as tooth sensitivity. You are in good company, however, as one in eight Americans suffer from overly sensitive teeth. If you are one of these people, keep reading for some tips on fixing your sensitive bite.
Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
Tooth sensitivity is usually the effect of worn-down enamel. This can be caused by either bad dental habits or severe dental issues. The following five things are bad habits that may be contributing to your sensitive teeth:
- Brushing too hard
- Using too much mouthwash
- Whitening toothpaste
- Eating acidic foods
- Grinding teeth
If your teeth are sensitive, think about whether or not you do these things and try to cut back. If not, sensitivity may be caused by a more serious issue such as:
- Too much plaque
- Cracked tooth (causing pain beyond just sensitivity)
- Gum disease/receding gums
- Tooth decay
- A recent major procedure, i.e. root canal
Talk to your dentist if you think one of these problems may be the cause of your tooth sensitivity.
Solutions for Sensitive Teeth
Obviously, if you are concerned about the condition of your teeth, you should talk to your dentist. The best way to cure sensitive teeth is to stop any bad habits that may be wearing the enamel and allow time to take its course. However, there are a few things you can do to speed up the process. There are special enamel-building toothpastes you can purchase that help strengthen enamel, which may help decrease sensitivity. You can also get a fluoride gel put on at the dentist which will help to strengthen your enamel. Ask your dentist for more information on how to strengthen enamel.
Preventing Enamel Erosion
If you are concerned about wearing away your enamel, there are some steps you can take to decrease the likelihood of that happening.
- Use a soft bristled tooth brush and don’t brush too hard
- Reduce or eliminate acidic foods from your diet
- Stop clenching or grinding your teeth – mouth guards can help with this, or you can ask your dentist for other ideas
- Visit your dentist regularly
Having sensitive teeth may seem like a minor problem, but it is usually caused by weakened enamel, which can lead to more serious dental issues over time. If you notice a sensitivity to extreme temperatures or pain when brushing, talk to your dentist. It is best to treat problems like this before they turn into something much worse.