Do your teeth feel sensitive or fragile when you’re drinking a hot or cold liquid, or brushing your teeth? Tooth sensitivity is a common issue that adults and children face, and the causes can be numerous.
If you find yourself struggling with tooth sensitivity, fear not! We’re going to share with you 8 possible reasons why your teeth might be sensitive, as well as offer a few solutions for what you can do to get rid of this nagging, frustrating, and sometimes painful problem.
1: You have a cracked tooth
It only takes the smallest crack or fracture to cause incredible pain or sensitivity. In many cases, you won’t be able to see that you have a cracked tooth, but if a particular area of your tooth or teeth is always sensitive, then it’s definitely a possibility.
If your tooth is cracked, visiting the dentist to get a filling or sealant is likely your best of course of action. In some cases, if a tooth is actually decaying, it could be that an extraction and tooth replacement will be necessary.
Here’s a little more information on fillings and sealants:
2: You’re suffering from gum or periodontal disease
In some cases, your teeth may be sensitive because your gums are sensitive. This is often the case with patients who suffer from gum or periodontal disease. In addition to sensitive teeth, here are a few other signs and symptoms that are commonly associated with gum disease:
● Persistent bad breath or a foul taste in your mouth
● Your teeth may start to come together differently
● Teeth that appear to be loose
● Receding gums
● Gums that inflamed, red, or bleed when you brush or floss
If you notice any change in your gums, you should see a dentist immediately. At Shining Smiles in Marietta, we recommend our patients schedule a routine oral exam and cleaning every six months as part of their preventative maintenance.
3: Your whitening toothpaste is too strong
While whitening toothpaste may keep your teeth whiter, they can actually cause sensitivity (if you have ever had your teeth professionally whitened, then you may know this feeling all too well!).
Did you know there is a scale that actually measures the abrasiveness of whitening toothpaste? It’s called the RDA value, and any toothpaste that is 100 or higher in the RDA scale is considered highly abrasive.
So if you have recently switched toothpaste, and have just recently started to experience tooth sensitivity, you could be using a toothpaste that is too abrasive for you and may need to switch back to your old toothpaste or find one that is lower on the RDA scale.
When selecting a toothpaste, whitening isn’t everything, you also want one that is gentle and healthy for your gums!
4: You’re experiencing decay and/or weak tooth enamel
Dental decay or weak tooth enamel could be the cause of your tooth sensitivity. When your teeth begin to decay, it can damage the nerve roots, which in turn can lead to that feeling of sensitivity when you eat, drink, brush or floss.
If a decaying tooth cannot be rescued, it may need to be extracted and then replaced with a dental implant, topped with a crown. If you have several teeth that are missing or decaying and you’re in the Marietta area, then we encourage you to read our page below discussing dental implants:
5: You’re an aggressive brusher and flosser
Do you feel like you need to brush extremely hard to get every last bit of junk and bacteria off of your teeth? If so, you may be an aggressive brusher, which can actually do more harm than good.
Brushing twice a day and flossing daily is a great habit, but you shouldn’t be bearing down or have to use any force when you do. Brushing slowly and gently twice a day for two minutes, and then flossing once a day is exactly what you should be doing to take care of your teeth (and visiting the dentist every six months, of course).
6: You eat too many acidic foods
Acidic foods can lead to tooth sensitivity because over time they can erode your tooth enamel. Without sufficient tooth enamel, more nerves are exposed, which can then lead to an increase in sensitivity.
If you eat a lot of acidic foods and have problems with sensitive teeth, you may want to limit your intake. In fact, here are some of the most common foods that can lead to tooth sensitivity:
● Soft drinks. Colas are highly acidic, and while never drinking any soft drinks may be unrealistic, limiting your consumption is a good idea.
● Acidic fruits. Fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits (amongst others) are highly acidic and can lead to tooth enamel erosion. While fruits are healthy, they could be contributing to your tooth sensitivity and should be eaten in moderation.
● Tomatoes. Tomatoes are delicious and healthy, but highly acidic. In addition to fresh tomatoes, tomato sauce or paste can also be acidic and may need to be limited.
When you schedule your appointment with Shining Smiles and meet Dr. Mohip, she will be happy to discuss how you can improve your diet to decrease your tooth sensitivity.
7: You grind your teeth at night
Teeth grinding is another potential cause of tooth sensitivity. In many cases, grinding your teeth that be a symptom of an underlying problem like temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).
At Shining Smiles, we help patients suffering from TMJ disorder, often times by fitting them with an oral appliance. You can learn more about TMJ and how we treat it below:
8: You have acid reflux
You’ve probably noticed throughout this article a common theme; when your enamel become compromised, it often leads to tooth sensitivity. This is definitely true with acid reflux, as chronic reflux can, over time, damage your tooth enamel leading to increased sensitivity.
While you should see your primary care doctor regarding your acid reflux or GERD, we also recommend that you follow a diet that is conducive to lowering reflux.
We can diagnose your tooth sensitivity, and get you on the path to recovery!
With our knowledge and advanced technology, the team at Shining Smiles can diagnose the reasons why your teeth are sensitive, as well as provide you with a game plan for getting rid of it.
If you’re in the Marietta area, give Shining Smiles Family Dentistry a call today!
Oh and if you’re on the fence about visiting a new dentist, just read our Google and Facebook reviews (which we’ve conveniently aggregated for you) at the link below: