Sensitive teeth (or more formally, dentine hypersensitivity) occurs when the enamel that protects your teeth gets thinner, thereby exposing the underlying surface and reducing the protection the enamel and gums provide to the tooth and root.
Possible causes of sensitive teeth include:
- Tooth decay
- Fractured teeth
- Worn fillings
- Gum disease
- Worn tooth enamel
- Exposed tooth root
Tooth sensitivity is very common; it is estimated that approximately half the population experiences tooth sensitivity at some stage, which can come and go over time.
If you’ve ever had the misfortune to suffer from pain and discomfort due to tooth sensitivity then finding ways to avoid the dreaded “ouch” factor is paramount.
Here are the top four things you should try to avoid if you have sensitive teeth.
1. Very hot or cold food and drinks
Due to the fact that sensitive teeth are usually thermally reactive, eating or drinking very hot or cold things such as hot soups or ice blocks will likely cause tooth pain.
Using a specialised sensitive toothpaste can help combat this, with a recent study in the Journal of Dental Sciences finding that regularly brushing with such a toothpaste is highly effective for preventing the pain of thermal reaction in most people.
2. Overly sugary food and drinks
Similar to your sensitive teeth’s response to heat or cold, it is also extremely common for sensitive teeth to react to sweet foods, especially if tooth decay is present.
Try to avoid sugary foods and drinks as not only does sugar have the potential to cause more cavities and get stuck inside existing ones, leading to irritation, it’s also the perfect food for bacteria, which thrive on this substance and will cause further tooth tenderness.
3. Acidic drinks
Acidic drinks including fruit juice, soft drink and wine can dissolve the tooth structure and expose more dentine, leaving you susceptible to increasing tooth pain.
Water or herbal teas are the kindest beverages to your teeth so try replacing sugary soft drinks and energy drinks with these.
4. Grinding your teeth
Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common condition that often goes undiagnosed until there is substantial evidence that is occurring.
If you attend your regular dental check-up your dentist will pick up on evidence of excessive tooth grinding such as tooth wear or fractured teeth.
Tooth wear caused from regular teeth grinding can lead to more dentine exposure and overload teeth, making them even more sensitive, so it’s essential to get on top of it.
Causes of bruxism include stress, certain sleep disorders, smoking, alcohol, caffeine and some prescription, so if you suspect these are contributing to your bruxism be sure to address them.
If you’re suffering from sensitive teeth it’s imperative that you discuss this issue with your hygienist or dentist. Please call one of our friendly Core Dental reception staff on 13 13 16 to make an appointment.