Sensitive teeth are a hot topic – they’re a cold one, too. Bad dental jokes aside, sensitivity can be a real issue. It can make it uncomfortable to eat, which can have negative impacts on your diet, and it hurts, which can impact your mental health. We’re going to do a brief dive into the three components of tooth sensitivity: causes, prevention, and treatment.
What Causes Sensitivity?
There can be a number of different causes for tooth sensitivity. The primary causes you’ll see are worn enamel and exposed roots. Tooth enamel is the hard stuff the covers the teeth. When you’re looking at your teeth, you’ll most commonly be seeing the enamel. Enamel can be worn down in a number of ways, though most commonly it’s because of bacteria. Excessive brushing and the use of certain whitening products can also contribute to enamel wear.
The roots of your teeth are pretty much exactly what you think. Like a tree’s roots, they connect your teeth to the rest of your body through your jaw. Your gums usually cover your roots, but excessive brushing and gum disease can cause your gums to recede, exposing the roots.
Other conditions that can cause sensitivity include cavities, chipped teeth, and worn fillings. Basically, if nerve endings are exposed, your teeth are going to be sensitive.
How Do You Prevent Sensitivity?
To prevent your teeth from becoming sensitive, you need to stop the causes of sensitivity, and that means proper oral health care. You need to brush twice a day and floss daily, but you need to do it properly. As I mentioned, excessive brushing can actually wear away at your gums and enamel. Excessive brushing often stems from an attempt to get rid of tartar, which can’t be removed by brushing no matter how hard you try.
The second step to prevention is to get regular teeth cleanings; getting rid of plaque and tartar helps reduce your risk of gum disease, which is one of the leading causes of sensitivity.
Teeth may also become sensitive as a result of clenching. In order to avoid this, consider getting a nightguard or another type of mouthguard if you know you have a tendency to clench or grind. You should also avoid overly acidic foods that could wear away at your enamel, and you should avoid brushing your teeth until about 30 minutes after you eat.
How Do You Treat Sensitivity?
Treating tooth sensitivity depends on its cause. One thing you should know is that sensitive toothpaste does not treat sensitivity – at least, not any better than a regular toothpaste would! Prolonged tooth sensitivity is a red flag and means you should see a dentist. We may need to fill a cavity, or prescribe some high-in-fluoride toothpaste to remineralize your teeth. Our Winnipeg dentists will find the source of your sensitivity and treat it at the source, so instead of masking it, we will eliminate the problem altogether.