Common Causes of Teeth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity can be painful and disconcerting, and it is usually brought on by stimuli such as consumption of hot/cold food and beverages, or a sudden change in climatic conditions. Some people also experience tooth sensitivity during brushing and flossing, which may be an indicator for a potential underlying dental condition. Whilst it’s normal to experience sensitivity every now and then, persistent sensitivity should not be ignored. In this blog post, Glowing Smiles Dentist will be sharing some common causes of teeth sensitivity and a few helpful tips to alleviate symptoms. 

What are the common triggers for sensitive teeth?

People of all ages can experience sensitive teeth, affecting either a single or multiple teeth. For some individuals pain is only mild, whilst for others it is chronic and may worsen when pressure is applied to the tooth or hot/cold beverages are consumed.  Some of the most common stimuli known to trigger sensitive teeth include:

  • Drinking very hot/cold beverages
  • Acidic diet
  • Sudden changes in environmental conditions, such as stepping outside on a cold winter’s day after being indoors
  • Vigorous brushing/flossing routine
  • Consumption of sugary and sour foods
  • Use of acidic mouthwash

Why do Teeth Become Sensitive?

Those with worn tooth enamel or exposed tooth roots are most likely to experience tooth sensitivity. Tooth enamel serves to strengthen and protect teeth against sensitivity, which is why we are able to consume hot/cold food and beverages without discomfort. Enamel is the hardest tissue in the human body, but it is not immune to damage. Some people naturally have less enamel, but an acidic diet and vigorous brushing are two of the most common ways enamel is damaged. Those with receding gums can also experience tooth sensitivity, as this exposes the dentin, causing the nerves inside your teeth to react to stimuli. 

It is also important to rule out any potential underlying issues which can contribute to tooth sensitivity, including:

  • Gum Disease – tenderness, bleeding, swelling and redness around the teeth/gums are common symptoms of gum disease, which can also be accompanied by tooth sensitivity. 
  • Tooth Decay – tooth decay can lead to the dental pulp/dentin being exposed, causing sharp pain and sensitivity. 
  • Damaged Teeth – those who have experienced a fall/accident or trauma which damaged their teeth should visit their dentist as soon as possible, as this can expose the dental pulp/dentine and cause sensitivity and pain

Tips for Reducing Tooth Sensitivity

Whilst it is important to seek the advice of your dentist as soon as possible, you may wish to try the following to ease your symptoms and prevent recurring tooth sensitivity.

  • Use Desensitising Toothpaste
  • Use a soft bristled toothbrush with gentle, even strokes
  • Use a fluoridated, non-acidic mouthwash to help strengthen enamel
  • Floss daily
  • Reduce consumption of acidic food and beverages

If you suspect that bruxism (tooth grinding) may be contributing to your tooth sensitivity, you may wish to request a custom-made mouth guard from your dentist. This can be worn at night to prevent tooth grinding which can damage teeth over time. 

There are also a number of dental treatment options, which may be necessary if you have damaged/decayed teeth. These options include crowns, fissure sealants, gum disease treatment, root canal therapy, bruxism management and more. As there are a wide range of causes for sensitive teeth, it is important to visit your dentist for an oral examination so that a tailored treatment plan can be formulated

Suffering from Sensitive Teeth? Visit Glowing Smiles Dentist Today

Sensitive teeth can be painful and frustrating, but Glowing Smiles Dental are here to help. We specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of all dental conditions, please contact us today to book an appointment at our Narre Warren or Doncaster East dental clinics.