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Follow These Tips For Sensitive Teeth

Updated: 10 hours ago

IN THE US, 1 IN EVERY 8 PEOPLE (kids included!) has sensitive teeth. Do you ever experience a sharp, temporary pain while brushing your teeth, or eating and drinking? If so, you may have a sensitive tooth or teeth. Let's understand why by taking a look at dental anatomy.

Erosion and the Layers of a Tooth

Beneath the hard enamel of your teeth are your teeth roots. Every tooth has nerves at the center. The nerves contain thousands of tiny tubes which connect to the tooth's center (the pulp). When the tooth is healthy, the nerve is protected by the outer layers.

If the tooth enamel erodes enough, it can expose the porous dentin layer and subject the nerves to much more input than they’re supposed to get. That tends to make temperature changes or even a sudden burst of sour or sweet flavor very uncomfortable or even painful.

Other Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

Erosion is a very common cause of tooth sensitivity but it's not the only one. Cavities, gum disease or a cracked tooth can also be symptoms of dental sensitivity. Let's look at a few causes for tooth sensitivity:

Gum recession: This occurs when your gum tissue pulls away from your teeth and exposes the roots. Some people are genetically prone to thinner gums while others can develop gum recession from periodontal disease or gum disease.

Gum disease: Poor brushing and flossing habits that allow plaque to form can lead to gum disease. When gums are infected, they can appear and feel swollen, red and bleed. Inflamed gum tissue can expose the root which leads to the nerve of the tooth.

Brushing too hard: Over time, tooth enamel can be worn down by regular brushing, brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush. This can also lead to gum disease. Check out our blog post if you're looking for tips on how to brush your teeth!

Cracked teeth: When teeth are chipped or broken, they may fill with bacteria from plaque and affect the pulp which causes inflammation.

Teeth grinding: Grinding or clenching your teeth can wear down the enamel and expose the underlying dentin, as well as lead to loosened teeth or loss of teeth in chronic cases.

Your teeth roots rely on gum tissue to protect them so when these roots are exposed due to gum recession, the roots can then become very sensitive. Exposed roots can be very sensitive because roots rely on gum tissue to protect them, not enamel. Gum recession (which is most often caused by brushing too hard) can leave roots exposed and vulnerable. Damage to a tooth, whether through an accident or cavities, also leads to sensitivity.

How to Minimize Sensitivity

If you think you're impacted by teeth sensitivity, there are several things you can do to address it.

  • Take a look at your toothbrush -- if it has hard-bristles, consider getting a soft-bristled one. This will not take as much pressure to clean away plaque but too much pressure can scrape enamel and gum tissue.

  • Switch out your toothpaste for desensitizing toothpaste which is formulated for sensitive teeth. Additionally you can try a toothpaste with fluoride, which helps to strengthen teeth enamel and reduce pain.

  • Swish some water vigorously in your mouth after every meal or sugary or acidic drink to remove sugar or acid which can breakdown your teeth enamel. This is an important one!

  • Cut back on sugar intake and very acidic foods and drinks to help reduce bacteria from sugar and acid.

Let us help!

Eating and drinking shouldn't be painful. Visit your dentist if you're experiencing teeth sensitivity -- we can recommend a suitable toothpaste, toothbrush, and check your teeth to identify and rule out any underlying causes of tooth discomfort!

You can make an appointment to discuss this, or bring it up at your next appointment. Schedule your next visit today. Call or text us at (650) 871-1400 or schedule your appointment online. We are looking forward to helping you find a solution for your teeth sensitivity!


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