Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common dental issues affecting the general population; according to the latest research, up to 57% of all people suffer from sensitive teeth at some point of their lives.So what exactly is tooth sensitivity? Sensitive teeth occur when the enamel that covers our teeth gets thinner or when gums recede. Such occurrences lead to exposing the dentin, a calcified tissue with tiny tubes connected to the tooth’s main nerves. When we eat hot, cold, sour or sweet food and the denting is exposed, these tubes act as triggers that reach the nerves causing the pain associated to tooth sensitivity. The pain is often sharp and sudden, but it is temporary.
Other common factors that can lead to tooth sensitivity include:
- gum inflammation
- damage to a tooth (broken or chipped tooth)
- teeth grinding
- using whitening products that are too aggressive (most home tooth whitening kits feature hydrogen peroxide, which is known to cause tooth whitening sensitivity for some people)
- brushing teeth too hard with hard-bristled toothbrushes
- a diet rich in foods high in acids can wear the enamel down
- if you recently underwent dental treatments you may suffer from tooth sensitivity for a few days following a procedure
If you do experience pain when eating hot, cold, sour or sweet food, we advise you to consult with your dentist as soon as possible. Even if the diagnosis may be a simple cavity or gum inflammation, if left untreated, the symptoms may get worse and more serious.However, in order to alleviate the pain in the mean time, you can follow our steps to tooth sensitivity relief:Always make sure to brush your teeth, floss and rinse with a mouthwash
on a regular basis. Preventing plaque buildups reduces the chance of cavities and inflammations that lead to sensitive teeth.
When choosing dental hygiene products, use fluoridated toothpastes and mouthwashes
. Also, you may want to try toothpastes specifically formulated for sensitive teeth. Today the choice of sensitive teeth toothpastes is wide so you may need to try more than one to find the perfect fit that fights off the symptoms.When buying a tooth brush
, opt for a soft-bristled one
. Also, pay attention to the way you brush your teeth. Don’t use too much force or you may damage the enamel further causing more dentin exposure.If you grind your teeth during night hours, consult with your dentist and get a mouth guard
. A mouth guard will prevent you from grinding teeth and wearing them off.Pay attention to what you eat. Try to avoid acidic foods and drinks
. Also, steer clear of sugary snacks.Finally, a way to minimize discomfort is to stick with room temperature food and drinks
. Extremely hot or extremely cold food will result in tooth pain.
In case your tooth sensitivity is quite severe, there are treatments your dentist may recommend. For example if your roots are exposed, the dentist can cover them with white fillings in order to protect the dentin. Also, there are special fluoride varnishes and dentin sealers that can be applied to root surfaces.