Causes for Tooth Sensitivity and How to Manage It

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Woman Smiling | Teeth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is a common dental problem. It’s a condition that can develop over time as a result of common problems such as enamel wear and receding gums. Tooth sensitivity can start to happen when the softer, inner part of the tooth called ‘dentin’ becomes exposed. Once the dentin is exposed, external triggers (such as a cold drink) can stimulate the nerves inside the tooth, resulting in a sharp pain.

The Main Causes of Sensitivity Are:

Enamel Wear

Enamel is the hard outermost surface of a tooth. Although it’s harder than any other substance in the body, with time it can gradually erode and wear away to expose the layer of dentin beneath, which may lead to tooth sensitivity. Teeth Grinding, too-frequent and over-brushing, and acidic foods are the main causes for enamel wear.

Gum Recession

Gum disease and too-frequent and aggressive brushing are the main causes for sensitive gums. As the gums recede due to these conditions, the underlying dentin can gradually become exposed and cause this sensitivity.

Tooth Whitening Treatments

The sensitivity experienced during tooth whitening treatments is actually different from the sensitivity caused by either enamel wear or gum recession. The bleaching component of the treatments is believed to penetrate the tooth, causing the sensitivity. Using a Sensodyne product two weeks prior to and during the whitening treatment can help to alleviate this sensitivity.

How to Manage Your Tooth Sensitivity:

For daily tooth sensitivity management, consider these tips:

  • use a softer toothbrush
  • don’t brush too aggressively or too often (twice daily is enough)
  • don’t skip your dental visits
  • use sensitivity toothpaste (like Sensodyne)
  • floss regularly
  • avoid cold foods/drinks, hot foods/drinks and sweet or sour foods
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