Sensitive teeth, especially to hot and cold, can be a real pain (literally!). It’s caused by the dentin, the layer beneath your tooth enamel, being exposed. Dentin is covered by thousands of tiny tubules that lead to the pulp, the inner part of your tooth where the nerves are. When exposed, these channels allow temperature changes to reach the nerve, triggering the discomfort you feel, and causing you to feel pain.
Here are some common reasons:
- Brushing too hard: Overzealous brushing can wear away enamel, leading to dentin exposure.
- Abrasive toothpaste: Some toothpastes with harsh ingredients can wear down enamel.
- Acidic foods and drinks: Acids in certain foods and beverages, like citrus fruits, soda, and wine, can erode enamel.
- Chronic vomiting or acid reflux: Stomach acids can damage enamel over time.
- Gum disease: Inflammation from gum disease can pull gums away from teeth, exposing the dentin-covered roots.
- Aggressive brushing: Similar to enamel, brushing too hard can cause gums to recede.
- Tobacco use: Smoking or chewing tobacco weakens gums and contributes to recession.
- Cracked or chipped teeth: Cracks or chips can provide direct pathways for temperature changes to reach the dentin.
- Dental work: Some procedures, like fillings or crowns, can temporarily irritate the dentin, causing sensitivity.
- Genetics: Some people are naturally more prone to sensitive teeth.
What to Do About Sensitive Teeth
- Desensitising toothpaste: These contain ingredients that block the dentin channels, reducing sensitivity.
- Soft-bristled toothbrush: Opt for a gentle brush to avoid further enamel or gum damage.
- Reduce acidic foods and drinks: Limit acidic culprits and rinse your mouth with water after consuming them.
- See your dentist: We can identify the cause of your sensitivity and recommend the best treatment approach, which may involve fillings, sealants, gum disease treatment, or even procedures like fluoride varnish or bonding.
Remember, managing sensitive teeth often involves a combination of home care and professional intervention. Don’t hesitate to consult your dentist if the sensitivity is severe or doesn’t improve with home remedies.
I hope this clarifies the various causes of sensitive teeth and provides helpful options for managing the issue. If you have any questions or concerns you’d like to speak with us about, feel free to book online or call our friendly team at Heathmont Family Dental Care on (03) 9729 4585 and we can arrange an appointment for you.