After spending time playing in the snow with your family, you just want to get inside and relax by the fire. After heating up some soup you made in bulk last week and getting everyone served, you plop in your favorite chair and get ready to enjoy some warm goodness. As you go to eat a spoonful of soup, you feel a sharp pain in your tooth. You wonder, “Why does this happen every time I try to eat hot or cold foods?”
If this sounds like you, your teeth may have become sensitive over time. Luckily, your dentist in Westminster knows plenty about tooth sensitivity and what causes it to occur.
Why Do My Teeth Feel Sensitive?
Sensitive teeth are the result of worn enamel over long periods of time. Tooth sensitivity can also occur if your tooth roots become exposed, but is it’s more likely the result of cavities or cracked/chipped teeth wearing down the enamel.
Tooth sensitivity is a pretty common condition people experience at least once in their lives. In fact, approximately half the population experiences tooth sensitivity that comes and goes over time. If you’re trying to figure out the cause of your sensitivity, look at your everyday habits and reference the next section to get you closer to a diagnosis.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
While cracked teeth, gum disease, and excessive plaque are all well-known causes of tooth sensitivity, not all causes are so obvious. If you engage in any of the following habits, making a simple change could be the answer to reducing your tooth sensitivity:
- Bruxism a.k.a. Teeth-grinding – Grinding teeth wears down your enamel significantly and exposes the dentin underneath which contains hollow tubes. These tubes lead to your nerves which trigger the pain you’re feeling. Consider getting a nightguard from your dentist.
- Brushing Too Hard – If you tend to use a lot of force while brushing or are using a hard-bristled toothbrush, try toning it down or switching to a softer brush. There’s no evidence that brushing harder or longer reduces more decay. In fact, it can actually be worse for your teeth because it wears down your protective enamel. This can also occur from using too much mouthwash.
- Teeth-Whitening – If you’ve just undergone a teeth-whitening treatment or use teeth-whitening toothpaste, the chemicals inside them can cause your teeth to become sensitive for short periods of time. If this sensitivity does not subside and standard toothpaste does not help, try switching to a toothpaste that exclusively caters to people with sensitive teeth.
- Acidic Foods – Foods like tomato sauce, lemons, kiwi, grapefruit, and pickles can also cause sensitivity due to their inherent acidity. This acid wears down your tooth enamel, exposing your dentin. If you exclude these foods and still experience sensitivity, consult your dentist.
Still not sure how to treat your tooth sensitivity? Schedule an appointment with your dentist in Westminster today to learn what treatment options are available!
About the Author
Dr. Terry Batliner graduate from dental school at the University of Iowa and the Royal Dental College of Denmark. To learn more about his treatments for sensitive teeth and his practice, contact him at (303) 460-9000 or visit his website.