What is Teeth Sensitivity?
Teeth sensitivity is a common name for dentin hypersensitivity or root sensitivity.
If hot, cold, sweet or very acidic foods and drinks, or breathing in cold air, makes your teeth or a tooth sensitive or painful then you have sensitive teeth.
Tooth sensitivity occurs when the layer of a tooth underneath the enamel (called dentin) or the layer covering the root (called cementum) is exposed along the gum line due to receding gums. The exposed areas respond to the food or drink and triggers the pain.
The symptoms of sensitive teeth include the feeling of a short, sharp twinge of pain when you eat or drink something cold, hot, sweet or sour, or if it's painful when you brush your teeth.
Having a sensitive tooth is a common problem, but what does it mean? Teeth that are sensitive to cold is the most common and could be caused by receding gums. Having teeth that are sensitive to heat is more of a concern.
What are the main factors that cause sensitivity?
There may be things you are doing in your routine that is contributing to tooth sensitivity:
- Brushing too vigorously
- Overconsuming acidic or sugary food or drink
- Tooth grinding or jaw clenching (Bruxism)
- Use toothpaste which is peroxide-based
- Use too much chemical-based mouthwash
- Gum disease
- Excessive plaque
- Dental procedures
- Cracked teeth
What are our top tips to alleviate or prevent sensitivity?
- Use desensitising toothpaste
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush
- Avoid highly acidic foods
- Use a fluoridated mouthwash daily
- Avoid teeth grinding (consider getting a mouth guard)
Making just small changes in your daily routine, including oral care habits and what you eat and drink, can dramatically improve the feeling of tooth sensitivity.
In any event, it is important that you visit you dentist, and get a hygiene check and thorough clean, at least twice a year.
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