Do hot or cold beverages and foods cause oral pain or discomfort? What about certain toothpastes or acidic foods? If any of this sounds familiar, you might have sensitive teeth. Here are five of the most common causes of sensitive teeth and some of the things you can do to get some relief.
1. Aggressive Brushing
We encourage patients to brush regularly, but too much enthusiasm might cause you some issues. If you use a toothbrush with stiff bristles or brush too hard, you risk damaging your tooth enamel over time.
Many people mistakenly assume that vigorously brushing their teeth will get them cleaner, but this isn’t the same thing as scrubbing a floor. Dentists recommend limiting a tooth-brushing session to two minutes because any longer can begin to cause damage.
Further, a toothbrush with softer bristles will be just as effective and protect the enamel on your teeth. More enamel means less sensitivity.
Another thing that can damage and erode the enamel on your teeth is your diet. Foods with high pH levels, such as red wine, energy drinks, and soda, are acidic and will cause demineralization with time.
As the enamel wears away, the inner dentin layer becomes exposed, which can lead to sensitivity. If you eat or drink anything acidic, it’s better to wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth to minimize further erosion.
3. Dental Issues
If you have any dental trouble, there’s a strong chance that your teeth are going to be sensitive to certain temperatures and foods. One example is a lack of routine oral care. If you fail to floss and brush twice daily, you’re more likely to have plaque buildup and receding gums, both of which can result in sensitivity.
Likewise, any worn-out fillings or cracked or broken teeth can expose the root structure, causing both pain and sensitivity. In addition to routine oral hygiene, you should also visit your dentist twice annually for cleanings and regular check-ups.
4. Clenching or Grinding Teeth
Clenching or grinding teeth can lead to micro-fractures in the tooth’s protective enamel. This gives food, liquids, and even air access to the nerves. You can minimize this type of damage by wearing a protective appliance at night while sleeping.
5. Teeth Whitening
There’s nothing wrong with wanting whiter teeth, but going overboard with home whitening kits can cause sensitivity. These materials are meant to remove stains from the teeth, and they can also penetrate past the tooth’s outer layer. If you’re going to whiten, take some breaks between sessions to allow your teeth to recover.
If you have sensitive teeth, this is a condition that is often treatable. Dr. Melchers and the experienced staff at Old Mt. Pleasant Dentistry care about your overall wellness and are here to address all of your oral health care issues.
Contact us today with any questions about the causes of sensitive teeth, or to schedule your next appointment.