It’s easy to take your oral health for granted when everything works as it should. But when something starts to go wrong, the cause of that problem doesn’t usually occur spontaneously. The majority of oral health problems are the result of months or years of either neglect or the continuous practice of bad oral habits. This is especially true when it comes to dealing with sensitive teeth.
Tooth sensitivity occurs when you experience discomfort in one or more of your teeth whenever you consume hot, cold, sour, or even sweet foods and drinks. The sharp and sudden pain the condition causes can feel as if it starts from deep within the tooth and begins to radiate out to the surrounding areas of your mouth. Tooth sensitivity can make activities you enjoy, like eating a drinking, extremely uncomfortable, and if tooth sensitivity continue to progress, you may start trying to neglect your nutritional needs.
To help you avoid the condition, here’s what you need to know about the causes of and how to prevent sensitive teeth, from Ostenson Dental, the premier dentist Vancouver WA has to offer,
The Causes of Sensitive Teeth
Running under the gum line and into the heart of your teeth- an area referred to as the pulp- are tiny tubules that contain the nerves of each tooth. When gum tissue begins to recede away from the base of your teeth these tubules become exposed, which allows outside stimuli- such as hot or cold drinks- to irritate the nerve in your tooth. This causes your tooth’s nerve to flair up, and leads to you feeling pain.
There are a variety of factors that can cause you to experience sensitive teeth, including:
- Over brushing. While showing enthusiasm for brushing your teeth is normally a good thing, you can inadvertently damage the health of your teeth’s enamel by over brushing. Brushing too strenuously or using a brush with hard, inflexible bristles can wear away tooth enamel, eventually exposing the layer underneath. Over brushing can also irritate your gum tissue, causing your gums to recede away from the base of your teeth.
- Gum disease. While over brushing can lead to gum recession, the most common cause of that condition is gum disease. A result of practicing poor oral hygiene, gum disease cause inflammation along the gum line, which not only results in receding gum line, but can lead to decay and tooth loss.
- Cracked teeth. Teeth that become broken or cracked can fill with harmful bacteria called plaque. Once inside of the tooth, plaque can cause the pulp to become inflamed, resulting in tooth pain.
- Bruxism. Also referred to as teeth grinding, bruxism is an unconscious habit that eventually wears down your tooth enamel. Once worn down, your enamel can easily chip or break, which exposes the delicate pulp underneath.
- Teeth whitening products. The majority of teeth whitening products contain some type of peroxide, which helps to remove unsightly stains from your tooth enamel. However, over using or abusing teeth whitening products can damage tooth enamel and cause gum irritation.
- Age. Despite what you may assume, individuals between the ages of 25 and 30 are the most likely to experience tooth sensitivity. While not proven, researchers suspect this occurs mainly because people are less likely to visit the dentist when in this age range. The fact that most health insurance plans remove children over the age of 24 probably explains why.
- Mouthwash. The best nightly oral hygiene routines include the use of an antibacterial mouthwash to help remove any built up plaque in hard to reach areas. But just as with whitening products, excessive use of mouthwash can damage the health of your teeth and gums. Mouthwash contains high levels of acid, which raises the acidity levels of your mouth when overused. High mouth acidity weakens your tooth enamel, making the substance more susceptible to damage.
Reducing Tooth Sensitivity
Fortunately, you can take certain steps to help prevent or reduce the effects of sensitive teeth. These steps include:
- Practicing quality oral hygiene. By brushing, flossing, and using a mouthwash daily, you can help to reduce the buildup of plaque, and prevent the onset of decay and gum disease.
- Use a softer brush. To find a brush that has firm enough bristles to properly clean your teeth without causing damage to the enamel, look for a toothbrush that carries the American Dental Association’s seal of approval.
- Switch toothpaste. If you suffer from sensitive teeth, consider switching to a brand that specifically markets itself as helping to prevent tooth sensitivity. While you might need to experiment with several different brands before you find one that works best for you, the use of these type of toothpastes will eventually help.
- Visit your dentist. Scheduling regular visit to see a dentist will provide you with the opportunity to receive a professional cleaning, proper hygiene instructions, and fluoride treatments, which can help to strengthen too enamel.