Picture this, it’s a scathing hot day and you’ve grown weary from fanning yourself. Almost out of thin air, you score a brilliant idea – to get a cool popsicle to withstand this ridiculous feud with the sun. But as you go to bite down on the delicious cold delight, you are stunned with a sharp pain that radiates across all your teeth. Or in a similar incident, you may have encountered this unpleasant sensation as you’re downing your hot cup of coffee.
This could be a case of tooth sensitivity – a condition whereby the nerves inside your tooth get stimulated by external agents, causing everything from discomfort to a sharp, sudden, shooting pain. If you’re suffering from tooth sensitivity, you’ll find yourself in good company. A survey conducted by the American Family Physician revealed that 22 percent of adults have experienced pain in their teeth, gums, or jaw within the last six months!
Here are 7 possible reasons why you’re experiencing this tooth malady and how you can effectively treat it:
1. You might be overbrushing
Yes, there is something called overbrushing! Using too much force or using a hard-bristled toothbrush while brushing can wear down the protective layer of your teeth – the enamel. Upon repetitive exposure to cruel brushing, the enamel can give way and cause the underlying dentin and pulp to show through. Since these are the hubs for nerve endings, sensitivity can result.
Simply switch to a toothbrush with softer bristles. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends you use gentle pressure while brushing.
2. You eat acidic foods
If you’re a fervent sour patch eater, chances are your teeth are sensitive. If your nerve endings are excessively exposed to acidic foods such as lemon, grapefruit, pickles, and tomato sauce, it can cause pain. Avoid such foods that cause tooth discomfort.
3. You’re a tooth-grinder
If you habitually grind or clench your teeth at night, the tooth enamel can gradually wear down. This exposes your dentin to the mouth environment thus leading to tooth sensitivity. Consult your dentist about finding a custom-made mouthguard that is specially used to prevent tooth grinding.
4. You use tooth-whitening toothpaste
Most over-the-counter tooth-whitening toothpaste contains chemicals that can cause sensitivity to some people. Consider switching to a toothpaste that is fluoride-enriched and has the ADA Seal of Approval on its label.
5. You’ve tooth decay or damaged tooth fillings
Tooth fillings can weaken as you age and leak around the edges. On the off-chance that this happens, bacteria can easily accumulate in these tiny crevices and cause acid buildup, subsequently breaking down enamel and causing further tooth decay. If you suspect a worn-down filling, see your dentist to get your fillings replaced or your newly formed tooth cavities filled.
6. Your gums are receding
A common symptom of gum disease is receding gums where your gums appear withdrawn or “pulled back”. Such a condition can elicit bouts of tooth pain and sensitivity. Visit your dentist immediately if you notice bleeding, swollen, reddening, or tender gums, all of which are initial signs of gum infection or gingivitis.
7. You recently had a dental procedure
It is common for most individuals to experience some form of sensitivity after a routine dental procedure like a root canal, extraction, or the placement of a crown. These symptoms typically subside on their own in a few days or weeks. If they persist, however, schedule an appointment with your dentist as it can be a sign of infection.
Don’t suffer in the hands of tooth sensitivity any longer! Visit your dentist ASAP for a full-mouth examination. Don’t let your teeth be sensitive to hot or cold!
1. American Dental Association, “Sensitive teeth – causes and treatment”-http://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Science%20and%20Research/Files/patient_33.ashx
2. American Association of Endodontists, “Tooth pain”-