Tooth sensitivity can happen to anyone but it’s most common among those ages 20-40.
It starts when the outermost layer of the tooth, called the enamel, erodes. The pigmented layer beneath it, or the dentin, becomes exposed, which then results in increased sensitivity.
Possible Causes of Enamel Erosion
- Bacteria feed off sugary food and then produce acids that beat down the enamel. This leads to the thinning of the enamel and exposure of the dentin.
- Receding gums. Tartar not removed on tooth surfaces may cause receding gums. The gums protect the teeth against bacteria. Once they weaken, they become loose and form pockets where bacteria invade. This can also trigger tooth sensitivity.
- Brushing too hard. Aggressive brushing and using a brush with hard bristles can also cause the enamel to wear away.
- Tooth whitening. Getting your teeth whitened may cause sensitivity but this should not last. Let your dentist know if you already have sensitive teeth prior to the procedure.
- Tooth grinding. When you grind or clench your teeth, this can also erode the enamel and damage your teeth. This can be difficult to diagnose as it occurs while you’re asleep. Your dentist can check for signs that you may be grinding your teeth. They can also customize a nightguard to protect your enamel.
Tips to Relieve Sensitivity
Sensitivity can cause extreme pain in your teeth. The level of discomfort varies. Here are some ways on how you can manage and feel better.
- Take note of your triggers and avoid them whenever possible.
- Talk to your dentist about using fluoride toothpaste or toothpaste types specifically made for sensitive teeth.
- Maintain good oral hygiene. Don’t forget to floss between teeth and below the gum-line.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush or switch to an electric toothbrush. Spend at least two minutes to cover all areas of the mouth, including your tongue.
- Don’t brush right after a meal as your teeth are highly vulnerable to acid attacks at this time. Wait at least an hour.
- Stay on top of your routine dental visits.
If your tooth sensitivity persists and only gets worse, contact your doctor for possible treatments. Don’t let sensitivity get in the way of you enjoying your daily life.