man with tooth sensitivityDo you have a hard time eating hot and cold foods without getting a zing of pain every so often in your teeth? Or do you experience pain when brushing and flossing your teeth? These might be alarming symptoms for you, especially if you’re not sure what’s going on. If you’re experiencing this kind of pain, you’re likely suffering from tooth sensitivity.

A recent study from the American Dental Association (ADA) found that nearly one out of every eight Americans suffers from tooth sensitivity in some form or another. Fortunately, there are plenty of treatments to help relieve your tooth sensitivity.

The Causes

Your teeth are made up of several different layers. The top layer, called the enamel, is the strongest substance in your body. The middle layer of your teeth is called dentin, and it’s made up of tiny hollow tubes that lead directly to the tooth’s inner layer, where the nerves reside. When the dentin becomes exposed, it causes increased sensitivity. There are plenty of reasons why your dentin might become exposed, and the way you treat and further prevent more tooth sensitivity often depends on the reason why the dentin became exposed in the first place. There are also other causes behind this common dental problem that don’t involve dentin exposure. Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of tooth sensitivity:

  • You’re grinding your teeth. Enamel may be the strongest substance in your body, but when you start grinding your teeth, you pit enamel against enamel, and it easily starts to wear down. Prolonged grinding can cause significant damage to your enamel and lead to increased tooth sensitivity.
  • You’re brushing too hard. Brushing your teeth with too much force can also wear down your enamel over time. This is especially true when you brush with hard bristle over soft bristles.
  • You don’t take good enough care of your teeth. When you allow plaque to build up and tartar to form on your teeth, the bacteria that causes these start to eat away at your enamel, once again exposing the dentin.
  • You eat too much acidic food. Acidic foods like citrus fruits can also break down the enamel on your teeth, leading to sensitivity and pain.
  • Your teeth are genetically predisposed to sensitivity. Some people have teeth with thinner layers of enamel, making them more likely to experience sensitivity.
  • You use tooth-whitening toothpaste. Toothpaste that whitens your teeth often causes sensitivity problems. This is because the chemicals contained in these kinds of toothpaste are stronger than normal toothpaste.
  • You recently had a dental procedure. Dental procedures like fillings, crowns and root canals can leave your teeth feeling more sensitive and painful. If this pain doesn’t subside, see your dentist, as it could be the sign of an infection.

The Treatments

You can often relieve your tooth sensitivity by avoiding the behaviors listed above. As you avoid these behaviors, you’ll notice that the pain and sensitivity lessens. Unfortunately, there are cases that can’t be treated by stopping a certain behavior. If you can’t stop your tooth sensitivity, reach out to us and set up a dental consultation appointment. We can evaluate your specific situation and create a treatment plan just for you so you don’t have to keep feeling the pain of sensitive teeth.