The most common causes of tooth sensitivity

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The most common causes of tooth sensitivity

If your teeth are sensitive to hot/cold/sweet/sour food and beverages, breathing in cold air, and brushing your teeth, the cause can usually be linked to an existing oral health issue. In most cases, tooth sensitivity may simply be a result of worn tooth enamel. On the other hand, a sensitive tooth root may indicate that you are experiencing a much more serious oral condition, such as gum disease and root decay.

It’s important to consult with your dentist, if your tooth sensitivity intensifies into pain or lingers for longer than 30 seconds, in order to identify the cause and the appropriate treatment solution.

The most common causes for tooth sensitivity:

  • Sweet and sour foods are usually acidic and can erode tooth surfaces as well as penetrate the exposed dentin to affect the tooth nerves.
  • Vigorous and incorrect brushing with a hard bristled toothbrush may wear down your tooth enamel, and cause gum recession. Exposed tooth roots are more sensitive to stimuli because they are not protected by tooth enamel.
  • Tooth whitening toothpaste are designed to whiten your teeth, but if you over do it, the whitening agents may start to affect your teeth.
  • Mouthwashes and rinses that contain alcohol and other harsh chemicals can contribute to tooth sensitivity.
  • Periodontal (gum) disease damages your tooth and root surfaces.
  • Receding gums expose your vulnerable tooth root surfaces.
  • Tooth decay and cavities from plaque and tartar build up. Plaque and tartar destroy tooth enamel and dentin leading to nerve exposure.
  • Grinding your teeth can wear down your tooth enamel, and expose damaged dentin to thermal stimuli.
  • Chipped or cracked teeth can cause sensitivity and pain when chewing.
  • Dental restorations such as cleaning and crown replacement may result in temporary tooth sensitivity.
  • Post-treatment secondary infections can occur if oral hygiene and after-treatment care are not maintained.

 
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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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