Dental sensitivity is that sharp twinge of mouth pain some people feel when consuming certain foods or beverages. This is a common problem that occurs when the dental enamel has worn away, exposing the layer of dentin underneath. Dentin is a hard substance that makes up the bulk of your tooth, and it contains tons of microscopic tubules that lead directly to the sensitive nerves. When irritants travel through those tubules and hit the nerves, it causes that OH! of pain — which totally runs a nice meal! Below, we’ve listed the most common triggers for sensitivity, and how you can minimize those painful moments.
1. Hot and Cold
The most common causes of dental sensitivity are very hot and cold foods and drinks. The extreme temperatures — think a mug of tea or bowl of ice cream — cause an extreme reaction in the nerves and triggers pain. Even taking in a breath of cold air on a crisp winter morning can be enough to make your teeth ache! But, don’t think you can only have tepid meals for the rest of your life. Simply allow hot substances to cool down a bit before consuming, and allow cold substances to come closer to room temperature.
2. Sugary and Acidic Foods and Drinks
Sugars and acids are often the main culprit in enamel erosion and, not surprisingly, they can also cause painful sensitivity if they hit your nerves, not to mention they can continue to erode enamel and cause tooth decay if you continue to consume them frequently. It’s crucial to brush your teeth, or at least rinse your mouth out with clean water, after eating or drinking sugary or acidic foods so they don’t have time to adhere to your teeth and eat away at the enamel as you work or sleep.
3. Whitening Products
Although whitening products can do a good job at brightening smiles, they can cause irritation and sensitivity in some people over time, especially for those who may already have weak enamel. Whitening products contain a high amount of peroxide and other chemicals that lighten surface stains, but over time they can wear away at the enamel and weaken teeth. It’s best to speak with your dentist before using these products, as they can tell you if your enamel is durable enough to handle a whitening regimen.
How To Prevent And Reduce Sensitivity
Toothpastes designed for sensitivity provide a protective barrier around the tooth, reducing the effects from potentially painful triggers. You can also speak with your dentist about fluoride treatments that may also provide strength and protection, as can bonding and crown procedures for teeth that are extremely sensitive and fragile. To prevent sensitivity from worsening, remember to brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day, and especially after eating something very acidic or sugary.
Although you can’t restore enamel after it’s gone, you don’t have to suffer through dental sensitivity. If you want to know how you can stop the pain, leave us a comment below or drop us a line.