Few things are more worrisome or inconvenient than sensitive teeth. Not only can this condition make eating and drinking a literal pain, but it is also an ominous sign of more serious dental issues. If your teeth have been sensitive lately, read on. This article will present three of the most common causes of dental sensitivity.
The General Picture
All instances of dental sensitivity share one common cause: exposure of the tooth layer known as dentin. Much softer than the enamel which covers the crown of a tooth, dentin contains a multitude of tiny tubes that connect to the pulp, where the tooth's nerves are located. These tubes, in effect, allow certain stimuli--cold, or hot, or sweet food--to trigger a pain reaction in the nerve. Understanding the causes of tooth pain involves understanding the various ways in which dentin becomes exposed.
Many people are surprised to learn that brushing habits can actually work to exacerbate dental pain. Yet by brushing too long--or with too stiff a brush--can expose dentin in one of two ways:
- by wearing down the layer of protective enamel on the outside of your teeth
- by irritating your gum line, and causing it to recede
Luckily, dental sensitivity caused by over-brushing can be easily mitigated. Begin by switching to a soft (or ultra-soft) bristled brush. Then concentrate on the way you are brushing, making it your goal to brush as gently as possible. One good way to do this is to hold the toothbrush handle with your fingertips. This will force you to adopt a lighter grip, thus providing a limit to how hard you can brush.
Mouthwash is generally regarded as a beneficial supplement to regular brushing and flossing habits. For this reason, mouthwash is often overlooked as a potential cause of dental sensitivity. Unfortunately, however, according to one recent survey, 90% of mouthwashes have a very high level of acidity. Not only can this high acidity exacerbate existing sensitivity, but over time it can contribute to wearing down your enamel, which will only make the problem worse. Do your research and try to choose a brand with a high pH level--in other words, a low acidity.
Hopefully by now you're already aware of the many perils posed by the gum disease gingivitis. Yet even if you consider yourself an expert, you may not realize that gum disease is also a prime contributor to sensitive teeth. That's because, as the disease proceeds, it cases the gums to recede upward, thus exposing more and more of your sensitive dentin. In other words, if you want to be able to enjoy a pain-free dish of ice-cream, it is important to receive regular dental check-ups, at a place like Area Dental Associates - Comfortable Family and General Dentistry, to keep gingivitis at bay.