Tooth sensitivity is a common problem that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by a sharp, sudden pain that occurs when your teeth are exposed to cold, hot, sweet, or sour foods or drinks. The pain is caused by the exposure of the dentin, the inner layer of your teeth, which contains tiny tubes that run to the nerve endings. When these tubes are exposed, they can send pain signals to your brain.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
There are a number of factors that can cause tooth sensitivity, including:
- Gum recession: Gum recession is a condition in which the gums pull away from the teeth, exposing the roots. This can happen due to a number of factors, including brushing too hard, gum disease, and pregnancy.
- Enamel erosion: Enamel erosion is a condition in which the enamel, the hard outer layer of your teeth, is worn away. This can happen due to a number of factors, including acidic foods and drinks, vomiting, and bulimia.
- Tooth decay: Tooth decay is a condition in which bacteria in your mouth produce acids that eat away at your teeth. If tooth decay is not treated, it can lead to cavities, which can expose the dentin and cause tooth sensitivity.
- Cracked teeth: Cracked teeth are teeth that have developed a crack in the enamel or dentin. This can happen due to a number of factors, including biting down on hard objects, clenching or grinding your teeth, and trauma.
How to Treat Tooth Sensitivity
There are a number of ways to treat tooth sensitivity, including:
- Using a toothpaste for sensitive teeth: Toothpaste for sensitive teeth contains ingredients that help to block the pain signals that are sent from the dentin to the brain.
- Using a fluoride rinse: Fluoride helps to strengthen the enamel and make it more resistant to decay.
- Flossing regularly: Flossing helps to remove plaque and tartar, which can build up and irritate the gums.
- Avoiding acidic foods and drinks: Acidic foods and drinks can erode the enamel and make your teeth more sensitive.
- Getting a dental filling or crown: If you have a cavity or a cracked tooth, your dentist may need to fill or crown the tooth to protect it from further damage.
- Root canal: If the sensitivity is caused by a severe infection, your dentist may need to perform a root canal to remove the infected nerve and pulp.
Preventing Tooth Sensitivity
The best way to prevent tooth sensitivity is to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, flossing once a day, and using fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash. You should also avoid acidic foods and drinks, and get regular dental checkups and cleanings.
If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, it is important to see your dentist to determine the cause and get the appropriate treatment. By following these tips, you can help prevent tooth sensitivity and keep your teeth and gums healthy for a lifetime.