What Are the Main Causes and Preventions of Sensitive Teeth?
Almost 40 million people in the United States alone experience the pain of sensitive teeth. The symptoms of sensitive teeth can make enjoying certain foods and drinks almost impossible.
So, what causes tooth sensitivity? The root cause of tooth sensitivity is exposed nerve ending inside of your teeth. The inside of your teeth is made up a material known as dentin. Dentin contains microscopic tubules filled with those nerve endings. When the enamel protecting the inside of your teeth is damaged or compromised, the hypersensitive nerve endings are exposed to pain-causing food and drinks.
The Causes of Sensitive Teeth
- How you brush. You can break down the enamel of your teeth by using a rough toothbrush and brushing aggressively.
- Unhealthy gums. Healthy gums make healthy teeth. Receding gums can leave the roots of your teeth exposed, which exposing the nerve endings.
- Tooth decay. Tooth decay is caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar on and in between your teeth. Tooth decay will eventually damage your enamel and expose the nerve endings.
- Worn fillings. Fillings that are worn and/or leaking can cause teeth to be sensitive.
- Grinding. Grinding your teeth while you’re asleep (or while awake, if you’re especially stressed) can damage the enamel of your teeth.
How to Prevent and Treat Tooth Sensitivity
- Replacing or fixing a worn filling. If you have a filling that has worn down, your dentist can easily replace that filling.
- Fixing a cavity. The root cause of your pain may also be an untreated cavity. Again, a very simple procedure that will prevent nerves from being exposed.
- Strengthen tooth enamel. A fluoride gel can be applied at the dentist’s office to strengthen your enamel.
- At-home desensitizing toothpaste. This toothpaste, found at almost any local store, will block the sensation of pain from the surface of the tooth to the nerve ending.
- Surgical gum graft. Damaged or receding gums may need to be fixed in order to protect the nerve endings near the tooth’s root.
You do not need to know the central cause of your sensitive teeth before you seek help. If you experience the pain while having hot or cold food or drinks, talk to your dentist. If eating highly acidic food or breathing in cold causes pain, talk to your dentist.
Your dentist will be able to find the cause of your pain and tell you how to best prevent and/or treat the pain.