Consuming cold foods or drinks should be enjoyable, but sometimes temperature sensitivity gets in the way. Fortunately, tooth sensitivity can be managed with the right strategies. Knowing what causes temperature sensitivity can help you take care of your teeth, while enjoying the hot and cold drinks and foods that you love. Here’s what you need to know.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity
There are many problems that can cause temperature sensitivity, including tooth injury, damage, and chronic oral health problems. Enamel erosion and gum recession are the most common causes of tooth sensitivity. Every tooth contains nerves that can cause pain. These nerves are protected by tooth enamel and gums.
People experiencing gum recession are at risk for tooth sensitivity. If the gums recede too far, the tooth will become sensitive. The same goes for your enamel: if your enamel wears down, your tooth will become sensitive, and you’ll feel pain when your tooth touches hot or cold foods and beverages.
Gums can sometimes be restored through gum grafting procedures, but enamel can never be restored. This means it’s very important to protect your teeth and prevent sensitivity from happening.
Other causes of tooth sensitivity include:
- Eating acidic foods. Tomatoes, citrus, vinegar and many fruit juices are acidic. Eating these foods can make your teeth more sensitive.
- Too much mouthwash. Some mouthwashes are acidic, so using too much can make your teeth more sensitive.
- Cracks in your teeth. If you have a cracked tooth, that tooth may become sensitive. In fact, sudden sensitivity in a single tooth can be a sign of a crack or damage to your tooth. Talk to your dentist.
- Using a hard toothbrush or brushing your teeth too hard. Brushing your teeth too hard or using a toothbrush with hard bristles will wear down your tooth enamel over time.
- Grinding your teeth. If you grind your teeth, the enamel may wear down, causing sensitivity. Wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth.
How to Prevent Enamel Damage and Receding Gums
The good thing about tooth sensitivity is there are many things you can do to prevent it from happening.
- Limit your intake of acidic drinks, such as sodas, fruit juices, and other foods high in sugar. If you do drink these beverages or eat foods high in sugar, swish water in your mouth to wash away the sugar.
- Brush correctly and for two minutes. Use a soft bristle toothbrush, and replace the brush every three months or more.
- Use mouthwash no more than twice per day.
- Floss daily to help prevent gum disease.
Treating Sensitive Teeth
Special toothpaste for sensitive teeth can reduce sensitivity and help you feel more comfortable eating the foods and drinks you love. You can pick up this type of toothpaste at the pharmacy, or ask your dentist for a recommendation.
Remember that the way you brush can affect the way your teeth feel. Get a tutorial on how to brush your teeth from the dentist during your next dental exam. Your dentist can tell you whether you’re brushing too hard, and if so, what to do about it.
See the dentist every six months to get a dental exam. Your dentist will be able to spot problems like a cracked tooth, gum recession and tooth enamel recession. Depending on the problem, your dentist can make a recommendation to treat what’s happening in your mouth.
Tooth Sensitivity After Visiting the Dentist
Sometimes visiting the dentist can cause tooth sensitivity! Don’t worry, though – it should be temporary. If your tooth sensitivity doesn’t go away within a week or two of your cleaning, call your dentist to get advice.
Contact Triangle Dentistry Raleigh
At Triangle Dentistry in Raleigh, we know that tooth sensitivity can be uncomfortable. We don’t want you to feel bad! We can help you identify the cause of your tooth sensitivity and determine strategies to help. Call today to make an appointment or ask your questions about tooth sensitivity.Triangle Dentistry, located in Raleigh, NC, provides a state-of-the-art facility that offers exceptional general dental and specialty services guided by empathy of a patient’s needs and desires. Services range from dental crowns to veneers and whitening procedures. For further information, questions, or to schedule an appointment, contact the office at (919) 847-6000