Over 40 million US adults suffer from sensitive teeth according to the Academy of General Dentistry. Tooth sensitivity involves pain in teeth that is often sharp and sudden, and occurs when teeth are exposed to air or cold, hot, sweet, or acidic foods/drinks.
Enamel protects the dentin which connects to the nerves and triggers pain in sensitive teeth, but if the enamel is worn down, the dentin may be exposed.
What Causes Sensitive Teeth?
- Brushing too hard or with too hard of a toothbrush can wear down enamel and cause gum recession
- Gum recession due to periodontal disease
- Cracked teeth
- Teeth grinding
- Tooth-whitening products which contain harsh chemicals can also remove enamel
- Buildup of plaque
- Acidic foods
Ways To Treat Sensitive Teeth
- Prevent the buildup of plaque by brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing
- Use a softer toothbrush and don’t brush too hard
- Use a desensitizing toothpaste
- Chew sugarless gum to promote saliva production; the saliva helps to harden teeth
- Have your dentist add a sealant to your teeth
- Avoid foods likely to cause further sensitivity such as sugary and acidic foods, and use a straw for drinks high in sugar or acid to avoid contact with your teeth
- Drink more milk and water to rinse away extra acid that may have come in contact with your teeth
- A night guard can prevent grinding of teeth while you sleep
- Fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash can help strengthen enamel
- See your dentist regularly for recommendations on treating your sensitive teeth