Who doesn’t love ice cream? For some of us, this frozen treat only brings painful tooth sensitivity. For others, hot beverages make them cringe in pain. Tooth sensitivity affects approximately 40 million adults in the US according to the Academy of General Dentistry. Up to 52% of adults between the ages of 20 and 50 report dental hypersensitivity as a nagging health problem. That is certainly a lot of us. The good news is that with a little detective work by you and your dentist, the cause and cure can often be determined.
Common Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
With so many of us experiencing tooth sensitivity, knowing the causes might help clear a path to a resolution. The inside structure of your teeth is comprised mainly of a material called dentin. This dentin contains microscopic tubes that are filled with tiny nerve endings. The outer portion of your teeth, above the gum line, is covered with enamel, the hardest substance in our bodies. Below the gum line a protective layer called cementum provides a barrier for nerve endings.
- Grinding your teeth at night
- Presence of gum disease or gingivitis
- Using a hard bristle toothbrush or brushing too hard
- Diet containing high quantities of acidic foods and beverages such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, and pickles
- Recent dental work
- Tooth decay, worn fillings or a broken tooth
How to Alleviate Tooth Sensitivity
Tooth sensitivity is so common that many of us just grin and bear it. You don’t have to do that! The first call you should make is to your dentist. Together discussing when your issue started, if there are other dental concerns or recent work was done, and your sleeping and eating habits can narrow down the root cause. Once a cause is determined your dentist can help with options.
Grinding teeth at night can be alleviated with the addition of a night guard. Gum disease can be diagnosed and treated. Switching to a soft bristle toothbrush or an electric version can help you brush lighter. Removing acidic food from your diet can quell enamel erosion. Tooth decay or other dental issues can be resolved with additional dental procedures. An office fluoride treatment can help strengthen enamel. And finally, the use of desensitizing toothpaste can help reduce pain due to tooth sensitivity. Foundations of Health Dental Care in St. Joseph, MO is committed to helping their patients with sensitivity find a solution. Get back to enjoying that occasional scoop of ice cream or that steaming cup of coffee as soon as possible with a little help from your trusted dentist.