19 Dec General Dentistry: What Causes Sensitive Teeth and What You Can Do About It
A whopping one in eight adults have teeth that are sensitive. If you struggle with the discomfort attributed to sensitive teeth, you’re definitely not the only one. Sensitive teeth can be bothersome-it may even prevent you from eating or drinking certain foods.
You’ve probably been wondering what causes sensitive teeth and how you can resolve it. Finding out the various methods to treat and prevent tender teeth can prevent your teeth from becoming even more sensitive.
Causes of Tender Teeth
When you start to notice your teeth hurting after eating or drinking, you’ve probably wondered: what is the cause of sensitive teeth? Sensitive teeth occur when the part of your tooth that connects to your nerves, also known as dentin, is out in the open.
You can usually trace your tooth sensitivity back to a specific habit you may have. Here are some of the most common reasons why your teeth are hurting:
1. Using Whitening Toothpaste or Mouthwash
Everyone loves to have white teeth and pleasant-smelling breath. That’s why so many people purchase toothpaste that promises to whiten your teeth and use mouthwash to make their breath fresh.
Unfortunately, the chemicals that are in tooth-whitening toothpaste and mouthwash can make your teeth more sensitive. Change your toothpaste to a non-whitening one in order to reduce your sensitivity. As for the mouthwash, you might have to avoid it altogether.
2. Grinding Your Teeth
You might not know that you grind your teeth when you sleep. If you find no other reason why your teeth are sensitive, this could be your answer.
Grinding your teeth can strip your enamel. As a result, a painful sensation can occur when you eat or drink.
3. Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard
Brushing your teeth with excessive strength can be a cause of tooth sensitivity. Using a hard-bristled toothbrush doesn’t help either–it can wear down your teeth much faster than soft-bristled brushes.
Habitually brushing your teeth with too much force or hard bristles can make your enamel thinner. That’s why you might notice your teeth feeling more sensitive especially when you eat acidic, hot, cold, or sticky foods.
4. Having Too Much Plaque
Not having a proper dental hygiene routine results in a buildup of plaque. It’s important to brush and floss every day to get rid of any plaque on your teeth. When you don’t brush and floss often, plaque can eventually cause your enamel to wear down.
5. Eating Acidic Food
Foods like tomatoes, grapefruits, kiwis, pickles, and lemons all contain a high amount of acid. Eating these foods on a daily basis can erode your enamel. Not to mention that they can cause discomfort if you already have sensitive teeth.
Solutions For Sensitive Teeth
When you have sensitive teeth, you should try your best to avoid certain habits, foods, and teeth whitening methods that can destroy your enamel. Try some of these tips to help reduce your sensitivity:
1. Use a Toothpaste For Sensitive Teeth
There are many kinds of toothpaste that you can find in your local pharmacy or grocery store that are made specifically for sensitive teeth. These types of toothpaste have a certain ingredient that works to make your nerve endings less sensitive–it closes the small holes in your dentin and enamel for a short amount of time.
In order for this kind of toothpaste to work, make sure to use it every day. It’s not a permanent solution, but it can definitely help your teeth feel stronger.
2. Wear a Mouth Guard
Although you may be reluctant to wear a mouth guard, these devices can actually save your teeth from sensitivity.
If you need a mouth guard, see a dentist as soon as you can. They will create a mouth guard that fits comfortably in your mouth at nighttime. Mouth guards can last a long time, so be sure to invest in one if you find yourself grinding your teeth in your sleep.
3. Be Gentle With Your Teeth
Your teeth are not hardwood floors-you don’t need to scrub them with brute force. You can still remove plaque without using all of your strength.
Instead, try to gently brush your teeth with a soft-bristle toothbrush, or switch to an electric toothbrush. Not only do stiff bristles cause holes in your enamel, but they can also cause sensitive gums and recession.
4. Oil Pulling
If you find that your sensitivity is due to an excessive amount of plaque and bacteria in your mouth, oil pulling can help. Oil pulling is a natural method that has been around since ancient times. This remedy kills the bacteria in your mouth, decrease plaque, and ultimately makes your teeth less sensitive.
All you have to do is melt one tablespoon of melted coconut oil, and swish it around in your mouth. After several minutes, spit it out, and rinse your mouth with warm water.
5. Fluoride Varnishes For Sensitivity
Fluoride is known to strengthen enamel and reduce sensitivity. Fluoride varnish can be painted onto your teeth by a general dentist. When the fluoride varnish is applied, the holes in your enamel that cause sensitivity will be filled.
There are other coatings that can be applied to your teeth as well. Your dentist can apply plastic sealant along with bondings to prevent your teeth from becoming sensitive.
6. Saltwater Mouthwash
Replace your store-bought mouthwash with this homemade remedy instead. Simply adding salt to water can balance out your mouth’s pH-this makes it harder for bacteria to grow.
Add two teaspoons of salt to a glass of warm water. Rinse your mouth with salt water when you wake up and before bed for the best results.
Schedule Your Dental Visit
You might think that you’ll never be able to enjoy a cold drink again, but there’s still hope. If tender teeth are significantly impairing your daily life, you should consider scheduling an appointment with a general dentist. Discussing options with your dentist can provide you with much-needed relief.
Our general dentistry prides ourselves on outstanding service and expert care. Schedule an appointment to see how we can help reduce your tooth sensitivity.