Are sensitive teeth keeping you from enjoying simple pleasures like ice cream, iced coffee, or even a simple glass of cold water? It might seem like a small thing but it can get very uncomfortable in the long run and it could also be a sign of an underlying problem with your teeth.
Whatever the cause, it seems that there is a trigger to tooth sensitivity, since most of us don’t experience this from birth. Instead, it’s more like something we develop over time, through bad dental habits.
If you’re wondering what could have caused your dental discomfort, here are the seven biggest causes of tooth sensitivity in people.
Brushing Too Hard
Sometimes, in our efforts to keep our teeth clean, we end up sabotaging ourselves with painful tooth sensitivity. When we brush our teeth too hard, we can end up wearing down the protective enamel on or teeth, losing the protection we have from pain-causing cold food and beverages.
Most dentists would recommend using a soft-bristled brush to avoid enamel erosion. If you’re already experiencing tooth sensitivity, it may also be a good idea to switch from regular toothpaste to a specialized sensitivity toothpaste like Mi Paste or Fluoridex.
Acidic Food and Drinks
Eating or drinking acidic food like soda or fresh orange juice can also cause sensitive teeth for the same reason as brushing too hard does – it wears down the protective enamel of our teeth. If you feel like your tooth sensitivity has been worsening and you’ve been drinking more acidic drinks than usual, then that could be the culprit.
You can cut down on the acidic drinks to reduce dental discomfort or you can get into the habit of drinking some water to somehow rinse off the extra acidity left on your teeth.
Grinding Your Teeth
We’ve mentioned the loss of enamel as one of the top reasons for sensitive teeth a lot in this article, but what really happens when you lose that protective layer over your teeth? The enamel is the tough, protective part of your tooth that covers the dentin which is the cold-sensitive and soft pulp part of the tooth. It’s also the dentin that is reacting to the cold food and beverages, causing you pain and discomfort.
While enamel is pretty tough, it can’t withstand too much pressure grinding it away. It’s no wonder that grinding your teeth, a habit that’s called bruxism, is one of the top reasons for teeth sensitivity. If you grind your teeth while you sleep (ask your partner or someone who sleeps nearby), then we highly recommend switching to a toothpaste for sensitive teeth immediately, like Mi Paste or other similar brands such as Fluoridex.
What does tooth-whitening toothpastes do that cause dental sensitivity? The process of whitening your teeth involves a bleaching solution that will not only remove the stains from your teeth, it will also remove a lot of the minerals found in the enamel covering of your tooth. This can lead to increased sensitivity and pain.
If you must use tooth-whitening toothpaste, try to use those that are made for people with sensitive teeth like the Opalescence Whitening Toothpaste with Sensitivity Relief. Before using tooth-whitening toothpaste, it’s also best to consult with your dentist first so that they can give you tips on teeth maintenance and guide you through what to expect during the process.
Too Much Mouthwash
If you’re using mouthwash, go and take a look at the bottle to see what’s in the actual components. If it says fluoride, this means that it’s a fluoride-based mouthwash and your teeth are safe from the added sensitivity. If it says alcohol, then you may have found one of the culprits that’s been causing you dental pain lately.
A lot of commercial mouthwash brands today use alcohol as the key component for these anti-bacterial rinses. While it is effective in killing germs and bacteria, it also chips away on the protective enamel over your teeth, leading to tooth sensitivity.
We would recommend that you switch to a fluoride-based mouthwash and pair it with a toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
What are periodontal problems you may ask? Periodontal problems cause all the issues that has something to do with your gums such as gingivitis, gum disease, and receding gums to name a few. These problems have a completely different underlying issue than most of what we’ve mentioned here already.
With periodontal problems, you’re not dealing with reduced enamel and exposed dentin that’s causing the sensitivity. Instead, it’s the exposed root surface that leads to the nerves of the teeth that’s causing you all that pain. In such cases, you will have to consult with your dentist and have them treat the issue with your gums. Toothpastes for sensitive teeth just isn’t going to cut it.
Plaque Build Up and Cavities
Unsurprisingly, plaque build up and cavities can lead to less enamel protecting your teeth. If this is the main cause of your sensitive teeth, you’ll be glad to know there are easy solutions to your problem. Have your dentists treat your cavities and supplement this with toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
Your dentist can easily removed the plaque build up and patch up the cavities and they can give you some tips on maintaining dental hygiene as well.
There are a number of causes that can lead to tooth sensitivity and most of them have something to do with the removal of the natural enamel protecting our teeth. We can preserve the enamel and keep our teeth safe by using toothpaste that’s made for sensitive teeth such as Fluoridex or Mi Paste.
One of the leading causes of dental sensitivity and pain that we don’t often know about is tooth whitening toothpastes. If you must use these toothpastes with whitening agents, it’s best to use those that are designed to minimize sensitivity such as Opalescence Whitening Toothpaste with Sensitivity Relief.
While there are a lot of causes to sensitive teeth, most of them are manageable and preventable. With a few tips and a trip to the dentist, you can go back to enjoying your ice cream or cold drinks in next to no time.