Even though you know there are millions of others just like you with sensitive teeth, you can’t help feeling that nobody else knows your pain when your own teeth are sensitive. Try as you might to grin and bear it, you find yourself reluctant to eat certain foods and drink certain drinks, simply because you know you’ll end up in agony.
Still, the good news is that just as every case of sensitive teeth has a cause, every case of sensitive teeth also has a potentially effective remedy. Actually curing sensitive teeth outright might not be a realistic prospect, but there’s certainly much that can be done to ease the pain and restore freedom of choice when it comes to your diet.
You might not necessarily be chomping down on ice cubes (ouch!) anytime soon, but any improvement is better than none, right?
The Causes of Sensitive Teeth
As with all things, it’s a good idea to gain a better understanding of what you’re dealing with, before setting about the process of dealing with it. There are so many different causes of tooth sensitivity from one person to the next, though certain causes are more common than others. Not only this, but some are ultimately more preventable than others too. Some there’s very little you can do to prevent – even armed with the very best electric toothbrush for sensitive teeth and an arsenal or related paraphernalia.
So just to clarify a little, some of the most common causes of tooth decay include:
First of all, one of the most common causes of tooth sensitivity is when the gums begin to pull back away from their original position, thus exposing the more sensitive parts of the tooth beneath them. While much of the exposed part of a normal tooth is extremely strong and offers huge resistance to almost anything it is exposed to, the same cannot be said for the tooth’s surface below the gums. When gums recede, this can result in extreme and on-going sensitivity.
Wear and tear
It is inevitable that over time, even the best cared-for teeth will become damaged to some extent due to everyday wear and tear. The only difference being that in some instances, such wear will lead to sensitivity as the enamel of the tooth is eroded. When this happens, thousands of tiny holes that lead straight to the nerve become exposed, thus triggering sensitivity of the teeth.
Any kind of tooth decay that gradually leads to the breaking down of the tooth may lead to sensitivity, as there may be less protection offered by the tooth. The closer the decay spreads to the nerve, the more sensitive the tooth will be.
Also known as gingivitis, inflammation of the gums can lead to the gum-line pulling away from the teeth and resulting in sensitivity.
Any chips, cracks or breakages of any of the teeth have the potential to lead to increased sensitivity. Again, the severity of the damage will almost always be directly linked with how sensitive or painful the tooth in question is.
Contrary to popular belief, teeth are not in fact most likely to be sensitive during old age or as a child. Instead, teeth actually tend to be their most sensitive between 25 and 30-years-old.
Grinding of the teeth will inevitably lead to damage over time, which can and usually will result in heightened sensitivity. Clenching can also be just as damaging as grinding, though often happens during the night while asleep.
The best mouthwash for tooth whitening on the market is unlikely to harm your teeth, but harsh bleaching products and chemical preparations very well might. In fact, experts believe that a worrying proportion of commercial tooth-whitening products available right now can be extremely harmful to tooth health.
All foods and drinks that contain acids at relatively high levels immediately inflict harm upon the teeth and can linger around to continue doing damage, long after the food/drink in question has been swallowed. This is exactly the kind of damage that can cause sensitive teeth.
Understanding the causes of sensitive teeth helps paint a picture of exactly how to minimise the likelihood of the problem affecting you. However, if you are already suffering from sensitive teeth, it’s a case of fighting back against the pain using the simplest yet most effective methods at your disposal.
The following represent great starting points for minimising sensitivity:
- Ensure that your current dental hygiene regime is both flawless and consistent. This means brushing, flossing and using mouthwash at least twice a day, using the highest quality products available.
- When choosing products, ensure you select a toothbrush, paste, mouthwash and flossing tool specifically created for helping reduce the pain of sensitive teeth. There’s every likelihood that those not manufactured for this exact purpose may do more harm than good.
- Make sure you use a toothbrush with relatively soft bristles, while at the same time adopting a gentle action while brushing. You need to be particularly careful around the gum line and avoid brushing excessively or abrasively at all costs.
- One of the best ways of keeping your teeth clean and your mouth fresh between brushings is to ensure you always carry with you a few sticks of sugar-free chewing gum. This can help bring acid levels within your mouth back under control, while at the same time producing plenty of saliva to fight plaque bacteria and look after your teeth.
- If you intend to whiten your teeth, do so only under the advice of a professional – ideally having a professional carry the job out on your behalf. As already mentioned, so many of the kits on the market these days will only make the problem even worse than it already is.
- If you believe that teeth grinding may be a problem during the night, consider investing in a quality mouth guard design to prevent damage being caused while you are asleep.
- Last but not least, be sure to visit your dentist on a regular basis for advice and guidance, along with recommendations as to the kinds of products that could help make a real difference to your sensitive teeth.