What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

Have you ever winced in pain after eating a spoonful of ice cream or while sipping a hot drink? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, millions of people around the world experience the same thing. What’s to blame? Sensitive teeth. If you have sensitive teeth, here are a few common culprits and some ideas to help manage the issue.

Common Causes

Over time, sensitive teeth can come and go. Tooth sensitivity often happens when gums recede, exposing dentin and the roots of teeth. The roots of our teeth aren’t covered in enamel which makes them a lot more sensitive to hot, cold, and sweet foods and drinks in particular.

The enamel on the crown of our teeth can also erode over time, especially from these common causes:

  • Brushing too hard
  • Eating highly acidic food
  • Abrasive toothpaste
  • Grinding your teeth
  • Bulimia
  • Overusing whitening products
  • Tooth decay

How easy is it to treat?

This all depends on the cause of the sensitivity, if this is caused by tooth decay or receding gums then it will be much harder to treat compared to a case of brushing too hard. The first step should always be to book an appointment at your dental practice so that your dentist can examine your teeth and check for any issues, such as eroded enamel, gum problems or infection in your tooth. Once these have been ruled out your dentist will be able to treat the cause of the problem.

Treatment options

Depending on the severity of the problem there are a number of treatment options to help deal with sensitive teeth and gums. We’ve listed some of the most common ones below:

Use a soft bristled toothbrush – Many tooth sensitivity issues are caused by brushing your teeth too hard with a hard bristle toothbrush and using an abrasive toothpaste in the hope of whitening teeth and removing stains. Doing this will wear down the tooth’s natural barrier, the enamel, and lead to increased sensitivity, especially at the base of the tooth where the roots are closest to the surface.

Cutting down on acidic and sugary foods – To help reduce tooth sensitivity, you can also make dietary changes, including limiting foods high in sugar and with high acidity such as juices, sweets and other sugary treats.

Dental sealant treatments – Where you have exposed tooth roots then your dentist may use a dental sealant treatment to apply a tooth-coloured resin to the exposed tooth roots. This will create a barrier to prevent further damage to the roots of the teeth and protect them from becoming more sensitive.

If you have sensitive teeth, reach out to our practice today and speak with our team of friendly dentists.

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