Tooth sensitivity ranges in degree. Some experience a mild sharpness in moderate to extreme temperatures. Others endure constant soreness, throbbing, and tingling—signs of larger dental concerns.
Most people experience tooth sensitivity between the ages of 20 and 40. Interestingly, research posits women are more susceptible than men. That said, anyone can develop sensitivities without proper dental care and protection.
Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
The surface area under the gums (the dentin) comprises thousands of channels. These channels run toward the tooth’s central nervous core (the pulp).
When the dentin is exposed, certain sensations reach the pulp faster. For example, drinking hot and cold beverages or flossing can produce sharp pain.
Many things can lead to exposed dentin. Most commonly, brushing and grinding excessively wears down the enamel and increases sensitivity.
What we eat and use to clean our teeth can also impact how they feel. Known culprits of heightened sensitivity include acidic goods like citrus fruits and pickled good as well as DIY dentistry products like tooth-whitening kits.
Erosion and Recession
Tooth decay and gum recession can occur naturally over time and enhance tooth sensitivity. Sensitivity is also a common symptom of gum disease—a reason why you should not ignore extended periods of discomfort. Many such conditions arise from plaque buildup and improper hygiene.
Damage to the teeth, too, can lead to sensitivities. Cracks, ships, and scratches, when uncared for, can result in infection or inflammation.
Prevention and Care
If you suffer from sensitive teeth, a few lifestyle changes can make a huge difference. However, if the suggestions below do not produce positive results within a few weeks, contact your family dentist.
- Brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush and change it every two months
- Use toothpaste concocted to dull tooth sensitivity
- Floss and rinse with fluoridated products daily
- Wear a mouth guard to sleep to prevent grinding
- Avoid sugary and acidic foods whenever possible