What causes tooth sensitivity?

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What causes tooth sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity is the common term used to describe dentin hypersensitivity (in your teeth) and root sensitivity. Symptoms include sensitivity to a variety of stimuli including:

  • hot, cold, sweet, sour or acidic food and beverages
  • brushing and flossing
  • breathing in cold air

If you experience sensitive teeth, there are a number of ways to decrease sensitivity and improve your oral health, such as a low-abrasive, desensitising toothpaste and fluoride varnishes. To find out what the best treatment is for your tooth sensitivity, you have to identify why your teeth are sensitive in the first place.

In cases where sensitivity occurs in the dentin of your teeth, you may simply need to strengthen your teeth’s protective enamel to prevent tooth sensitivity and enamel erosion. However, tooth sensitivity may be a sign of more serious oral health issues. In any case, if you are suffering from extreme sensitivity, the best way to diagnose and treat this oral condition is to consult with your dentist or hygienist.

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The following factors may cause tooth sensitivity:

  • Acidic foods.
  • Tooth grinding and regular wear-and-tear.
  • Tooth whitening toothpaste.
  • Over-brushing and wearing down your protective enamel.
  • Mouthwashes containing alcohol and other chemicals.
  • Gum disease and receding gums that expose root surfaces.
  • Tooth decay and cavities from plaque and tartar build up.
  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Post-treatment secondary infections

Tooth sensitivity is usually a symptom of other oral health issues, no matter how sensitive your teeth are. It is important to maintain good oral care and hygiene to help prevent sensitive teeth issues. Consult with your dentist or hygienist for the best way to treat your sensitivity if it lasts longer than 30 seconds – and enjoy an ice cold drink this summer.


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