Millions of adults suffer from tooth sensitivity so if this is a problem for you then you’re not alone. Tooth sensitivity can happen to anyone and the most common symptom is a sharp pain sensation. This may happen when you’re flossing or brushing your teeth. It also commonly occurs when the teeth are exposed to something like cold air or a hot drink.
Why do we have sensitive teeth?
Dentin makes up the underlying layer of our teeth and is directly connected to the nerve that triggers the pain of sensitive teeth. Normally, dentin is covered by a layer of enamel that protects it from anything that might get to the dentin and trigger the flash of pain. However, if that enamel is worn away it leaves the dentin exposed and this is when we can first start to experience teeth sensitivity.
How do we get sensitive teeth?
There are many reasons why the enamel on your teeth might end up being worn away, including:
- Teeth grinding or clenching
- Receding gums
- Using a brush with bristles that are too hard
- Brushing too forcefully with your toothbrush
- Using harsh tooth whitening products on your teeth
- Acidic foods
- Plaque that is allowed to build up over a period of time
How can you deal with teeth sensitivity?
Use a specialist toothpaste. There are a number of brands around that specialise in toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
Switch your toothbrush. If you already have issues with sensitive teeth then using a soft bristled brush is going to be essential.
If you regularly grind your teeth then get a mouth guard. Many of us grind our teeth at night so a mouth guard might be essential to stop you from doing the damage that could lead to tooth sensitivity when you’re asleep.
Avoid eating acidic foods and consuming acidic drinks. Sugary cakes and pastries, anything with too much vinegar and fruit juice, for example, can all increase existing problems that you might have with tooth sensitivity.
Use a daily mouthwash. It’s essential that this mouthwash is fluoridated.
See if there is a dental treatment that may help. A surgical gum graft, bonding, crowns or inlays, as well as fluoride gel or even root canal offer various options for sensitive teeth. Depending on the severity of the sensitivity and the treatment that you want to have, your dentist might be able to help you find a solution to ongoing painful sensitivity.