Some people go throughout their entire day, avoiding hot and cold food items because they yield painful results whenever their teeth come in contact with hot soup or cold ice cream. Unfortunately, sensitive teeth are a very common ailment amongst the US population. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, over 40 million people experience tooth sensitivity and most people just deal with the symptoms. However, by learning the main causes of sensitive teeth you can prevent it or reverse the effects.
Cause of Sensitive Teeth
There are numerous reasons why your teeth may be sensitive. In order to determine the exact cause, it requires you to think about your diet and your oral health habits. Some reasons include:
- Worn Tooth Enamel
- Tooth Erosion
- Tooth Decay
- Gum Recession
Curbing the Causes
Some of these causes behind sensitive teeth can be fixed by simply altering what you eat and drink and how effective your oral health routine is. For example, tooth decay and gum recession are due to lack of brushing and flossing. Decay leads to a thinner enamel shell, causing the nerve endings within the tooth to be affected more by the temperatures of the foods and drinks you put into your mouth.
Brush and Floss
Gum recession works the same way. The enamel of your teeth is much thinner below the gum line. However, by lack of flossing and brushing along the gum line, it can recede back and expose the weaker parts of your teeth. Again, the weaker and thinner your enamel is, the closer your nerve endings are to the surface of your tooth, resulting in super sensitivity. That’s why it’s best to always keep up with your oral health. We’ll say it until we’re blue in the face. Brush for 2 minutes, two times a day, and always floss at least once during the day.
Grinding and Scrubbing
Worn tooth enamel can result in a few different ways. Perhaps, you grind your teeth at night? If that’s the case, you may need to wear a mouthguard when you sleep. This will prevent you from wearing down the enamel of your back teeth. Another cause of worn enamel is due to over-brushing with a hard bristle toothbrush. There are many causes of bad results by being too overzealous with your oral health products. We recommend using an electric toothbrush that has soft bristles. It’s gentle sweeping motion helps massage the gums and wipe away plaque, as opposed to scrubbing it roughly.
Food and Drink
A final means of preventing teeth sensitivity is by watching what you eat and drink. As mentioned previously, tooth erosion is a major cause of this oral ailment. It’s caused by highly acid foods and drinks. The acid washes away layers of the enamel, which as you know, is the main cause of sensitive teeth. By putting down the soda and sports drinks you’ll be doing yourself a great service. However, fruit drinks are also a prime culprit. Apple juice is tasty and refreshing, but you should limit yourself. You really shouldn’t be drinking it all day, every day.
Some foods that you need to limit are candies, refined carbohydrates such as potato chips, and super acidic fruits like lemons. All of these food items allow acid to stick around in your mouth, resulting in attacks to your teeth and enamel. By reducing the amount of sugars, starches, and citrus food items you eat, the greater your chances of restoring strength to your teeth.
Schedule an Appointment
Unfortunately, diagnosing yourself is never as easy as it’s made out to be. These are merely tips or suggestions when dealing with sensitive teeth. If you’re still experiencing pain when eating foods with contradicting temperatures, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your dentist. He or she will be able to determine the cause behind your sensitive teeth and provide you with specific steps in order to return your teeth to normal health. This is why it’s always best to schedule your appointments twice a year, in order for you and your dentist to identify problems in the making.