The health of your teeth plays an important role in how you eat, speak, and smile. If you suffer from frequent sudden, sharp shots of pain in your teeth, you may be experiencing tooth sensitivity, which can be triggered by eating or drinking cold, hot, sweet, or sour foods and beverages. While a variety of factors can cause tooth sensitivity, most underline a serious problem with your oral health. If you have sensitive teeth in Portland, Portland dentist Dr. Jason Basjuscak wants every patient to enjoy the very best oral health possible. With that in mind, here are the most common causes of sensitive teeth.
Causes of Sensitive Teeth
Tooth sensitivity occurs when the dentine, the layer of your tooth located underneath the enamel, becomes exposed due to receding gum tissues, which normally cover the roots of a tooth. The roots of a tooth, which contain thousand of tubules that lead to the never center of a tooth, have no protective enamel covering. So when your gum tissue recedes, the nerves of your tooth become exposed and are easily stimulated by hot, cold, sweet, etc., which results in the pain you feel.
A variety of factors can lead to a person developing sensitive teeth, including:
- Excessive brushing. While it’s important to brush and floss daily, brushing too forcefully can cause your teeth’s enamel to wear down over time. This exposes your teeth’s dentin, and can cause receding gum lines.
- Tooth decay along the gum line can lead to periodontal disease, which causes your gums to recede and the root surface a tooth to become exposed.
- Gum disease. Also known as gingivitis, gum disease cause inflammation and sore gum tissue, which can lead to increased tooth sensitivity.
- Cracked teeth. A chipped or broken tooth can potentially fill with bacteria and enter the pulp causing inflammation.
- Teeth grinding. Clenching or grinding your teeth at night may eventually wear down tooth enamel and expose the underlying dentin.
- The majority of people who suffer from tooth sensitivity fall between the age of 25 and 30.
- Plaque buildup on the surface of your teeth’s roots can cause sensitivity.
- The long-term use of some types of mouthwashes can lead to tooth sensitivity. Brands that contain high levels of acid can increase tooth sensitivity if your teeth already feature exposed dentin. The acids in the mouthwash can cause further damage to a tooth’s dentin layer and cause increased tooth sensitivity. If you suffer from sensitive teeth, you may want to consult your dentist about acid free brands of mouth wash.
- Long-term consumption of acidic foods, such as lemons, limes, pineapples, tomatoes, can lead to the erosion of tooth enamel.
Preventing Tooth Sensitivity
Considering that tooth sensitivity is generally a symptom of poor oral health, you can help to prevent sensitivity by maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Brushing and flossing regularly will help to remove harmful plaque and excess food particles that contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. When you do brush, be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush that won’t wear away your teeth’s enamel or cause gum recession.
If you already suffer from tooth sensitivity, try using toothpaste that helps desensitize teeth. With frequent use, you should begin to notice a decease in sensitivity over time. You may need to try out several types of bands prior to finding one that works the best on your teeth. You should also consider eating fewer types of highly acidic foods to limit any further damage done to your teeth’s dentine layer.
Ask downtown Portland dentist Dr. Jason Bajuscak during your next visit to City Dental if you have any further questions about how to treat sensitive teeth, or want to know the best brands of toothpaste and mouth wash to use.