If you experience sudden pain and discomfort in your teeth and gums when exposed to certain temperatures and substances, then you might be dealing with tooth sensitivity. It is one of the most common dental problems many people experience. Research states that more than 40 million adults experience tooth sensitivity in the US. Proper care and specific dental procedures can help keep tooth sensitivity at bay. However, if you have dentophobia, you can consider undergoing any pain-free dentistry options with your dentist to get rid of tooth sensitivity and other dental problems. Now, let’s discuss the six surprising causes of sudden tooth sensitivity in detail.
1. Brushing hard or using a hard brush
If you have a habit of brushing your teeth hard or use a toothbrush with hard bristles, your chances of experiencing tooth sensitivity are high. Most people have the habit of brushing hard, trying to get rid of germs and plaque. However, they don’t realize the downside of it. Hard brushing of teeth results in the erosion of outer protective layers of teeth, exposing the nerves and canals. When they come in contact with acidic substances and foods with extreme temperatures such as icecreams and hot beverages, they cause tooth sensitivity. When enamel erodes due to hard brushing, the inner layers such as dentin is exposed, which might also lead to gum recession, which is also one of the causes for tooth sensitivity. The best way to avoid tooth sensitivity and other dental problems that occur due to enamel erosion is by switching to a toothbrush with soft or medium bristles and start brushing your teeth gently.
2. Gum Recession
The soft pink layer of tissue that holds the teeth, and covers the bone and nerves known as gums, tend to wear out with increasing age. Once the tissue stars wearing out, it exposes the nerves and inner layers of the teeth. With no protection, the nerves and roots of the teeth become prone to several infections and when exposed to certain temperatures and substances, cause tooth sensitivity. Apart from causing tooth sensitivity, receding gums also lead to other dental problems and infections. When gums start to wear off, it creates a gap between the gum line and teeth allowing bacteria and plaque to build-up. That can also lead to tooth loss if left unattended as the bacteria might severely damage the bone and gums.
3. Teeth Whitening procedures
Everyone wants a bright white smile and use various tooth whitening products such as gels, toothpaste, strips, etc. Some even prefer to go through teeth whitening dental procedures to get rid of the yellowish tinge and achieve whiter teeth. While it guarantees whiter teeth, it causes temporary tooth sensitivity for a week after you’ve had teeth whitening procedure done. That happens because of the bleaching substances present in teeth whitening products that cause the essential minerals in enamel to erode. The erosion exposes the microtubules of the teeth, so when in contact with certain temperatures and substances, you experience tooth sensitivity. Once the minerals of the enamel start developing again, the tooth sensitivity might subside. However, excessive and frequent use of tooth whitening products might cause too much damage to the protective layers of the teeth and result in permanent tooth sensitivity.
4. Acidic foods
Acidic foods are one of the oldest causes of tooth sensitivity. People usually worry about their gastrointestinal health while consuming acidic foods but do not pay much attention to the fact that they cause equal damage to their teeth too. In a survey conducted by the American Academy of Dentistry, the majority of the dentists suggested that one of the most common causes of tooth sensitivity is acidic foods. The next common cause of tooth sensitivity among adults being the toothbrushing technique. Consumption of acidic foods and beverages such as citrus fruits, sports drinks, tomatoes, yogurt, and orange juice, etc., damages the enamel and weakens the gums causing them to wear off. That further exposes the inner layers, such as the nerves and causes tooth sensitivity. But if you maintain a proper balance among the alkaline and acidic contents of foods, then you can prevent your teeth from sensitivity. Apart from that, you can also switch to a toothpaste made for sensitive teeth rather than using a regular one.
5. Teeth grinding
Here is another common cause of tooth sensitivity. Most people do not pay much attention to it as it is hard to evaluate whether a person has a habit of teeth grinding or not in the first place. Our body reacts differently under different circumstances of stress, mostly teeth grinding or clenching jaws could be an immediate instinctive reaction of our body. Most people tend to grind teeth during their sleep. While the symptoms of teeth grinding are simple, for instance, if a person experiences pain in the jaw when they wake up in the morning, then probably they might have a habit of teeth grinding in their sleep. Constant contact and grinding between the teeth cause enamel erosion, exposing the tender layers of the teeth, ultimately leading to tooth sensitivity. So if you suspect that you could be grinding your teeth in your sleep, then it’s better to visit the dentist and confirm.
6. Excessive plaque build-up
The plaque build-up is normal among everyone, and it is nothing but the formation of bacteria on the surface of the teeth after eating. Usually, we eliminate the plaque build-up by proper brushing and flossing. However, high sugary foods and carbohydrate-rich foods can cause further damage to the teeth and gum line as these bacteria feed on the sugars and generate harmful acids. Excessive plaque build-up damages enamel, the protective layer of the teeth, and as the inner layers lose its protection and become exposed, they become prone to extremely hot or cold temperatures. Apart from causing tooth sensitivity, excessive plaque build-up also causes severe dental problems which sometimes may even result in tooth loss. Instilling a good oral hygiene regime and regular dental checkups can help you get rid of plaque build-up. It’s better to brush your teeth at night after dinner and not consume anything except water until morning to avoid excessive plaque build-up.
These are the six common causes of tooth sensitivity, Always ensure that you instill a good oral hygiene regime and develop healthy eating habits to get rid of tooth sensitivity. Remember that it is quite common for both children and adults of all ages to experience tooth sensitivity.