What Causes Sensitive Teeth And How To Treat Them

Dentist Blog

Sensitive teeth is a common dental complaint in the United States, and you may be relieved to know that it doesn't necessarily mean there is anything else wrong. Sometimes sensitive teeth can be a sign of cavities, but it's equally possible that you have sensitive teeth due to exposed dentin, which can be caused by things like your diet or brushing habits. You can be sensitive to heat, cold, or both. However, you can take certain steps to reverse this effect.

What Causes Sensitivity

Sensitivity is most often caused by exposed dentin, which is a layer of your teeth that contains millions of tubes that lead to nerve endings. This is normally covered by your gums and enamel, but when it is exposed, you will be much more susceptible to feeling the effects of heat and cold. Dentin can be exposed by receding gums or weakening enamel, which is caused by a number of different things:

  • Brushing Too Hard: Brushing hard doesn't mean brushing better. Brushing too hard wears away at your enamel and hurt your gums, which makes your teeth weaker. If your toothbrush's bristles are pointing in all directions, ease up on the pressure. Also make sure you're using a soft-bristle brush.
  • Using Whitening Toothpaste: Whitening toothpaste is designed to stain your teeth, but some of the chemicals in these toothpastes can make you feel more sensitive.
  • Consuming Acidic Foods/Drinks: Acids in certain foods and drinks eat away at enamel, especially if you don't brush after consuming them. This applies equally to food and drinks, so watch your soda intake.
  • Using Mouthwash: Mouthwash has a surprising effect on teeth sensitivity depending on how much you use it. Just like whitening toothpaste, the chemicals and alcohol can weaken the dentin on your teeth. Use in moderation, and try to find alternatives like neutral fluoride rinses.

What You Can Do

Apart from changing the toothpastes you use and the foods and drinks you consume, you can actually do other things to help reverse that sensitivity.

  • Use Special Toothpaste: Different kinds of toothpaste can be used to reduce your teeth's sensitivity. Look for desensitizing toothpastes or ask your dentist to recommend one. They are not instant fixes, and it may be up to a month before you notice a significant difference, but they can help.
  • Get Your Teeth Sealed: This option may not always be available, but consult your dentist (like those at Delta Oaks Dental Care) to see if he or she can apply sealants to your teeth. This helps lessen your sensitivity, and it can also help gum disease and gingivitis.


19 January 2015

Getting Your Toddler to the Dentist Once and For All

Toddlers should see a dentist for the first time by the age of twelve months or by the time their first tooth comes in. But if you are a parent with toddlers anything like mine, the prospect of going to the dentist (let alone anywhere!) can be pretty intimidating. My kids were a handful growing up. They had tantrums any time we would have to sit in a waiting room, and they refused to get in the dentist's chair during their first few visits. So, I had to employ a professional to help me make the transition to finally getting them in that dental chair without all the screaming and crying. I know I'm not the only parent in this situation, so I decided to share the information I've learned with others who can use a little help. You can find all my advice right here on these pages!