On drinking cold water or a sip of tea or coffee makes you uneasy or eating ice-cream or yogurt is a nightmare, you may have a common problem known as “sensitive teeth.”
Various causes of sensitivity in teeth include:
1. Forceful brushing of teeth – it is the most common cause of tooth sensitivity. It causes thinning of the protective layer on our teeth that is enamel. Enamel protects our teeth against insult from food or fluids we take. Loss of enamel leads to sensitivity of teeth.
- Gentle brushing of teeth
- Use soft bristle brush
- Change brush after 3- 6 months ( as the bristles wear away)
- Use little toothpaste ( toothpaste has abrasive particles which causes wear away of enamel)
- Do brushing in up-down movement
2. Tooth decay
Caries in tooth lead to tooth sensitivity. Caries remove the protective enamel layer exposing dentine layer to food and fluids. Dentine carries nerves which causes sensitivity
Remedy: Treatment involves removal of tooth decay and placement of protective barrier on dentine that is a filling material
3. Old tooth fillings – over a period of time fillings may crack or break or get removed which leads to sensitivity.
Remedy: Change of filling in tooth
4. Exposed tooth roots- as a result of aggressive tooth brushing, gum recession and gum disease. It causes tooth sensitivity.
- Use soft bristle brush
- Visit your dentist for gum disease treatment
5. Plaque and calculus
The purpose of brushing is to remove plaque that forms after eating food. An excessive build-up of plaque can cause your enamel to wear away. Again, your teeth can become more sensitive as they lose their enamel protection.
Remedy: The solution is to practice good daily dental care and visit your dentist for cleanings every six months.
6. Habit of eating acidic foods - fruits like lemon, sweet lime, pickles and tomato juice contains acid which can dissolve enamel of teeth. Frequent use of acidic food causes tooth sensitivity.
7. Habit of tooth-grinding – grinding also causes tooth sensitivity due to loss of enamel.
Tooth sensitivity is treatable. You must have seen toothpaste made for sensitive teeth. However, toothpaste can only help limited no. of patient’s suffering from tooth sensitivity.
If your sensitivity is extreme and persists no matter what you do, please visit your dentist for an oral examination. Visit to dental specialist can determine the most likely cause of your tooth sensitivity and the best solution for your particular condition.