Indeed, there’s been a time in all our lives when we felt a sharp pain in our teeth after eating ice cream or brushing our teeth. And it’s no surprise; tooth sensitivity, the discomfort in our teeth whenever our teeth meet specific substances or temperatures, has become quite the common sight in today’s world, with around 1 in 8 patients dealing with tooth sensitivity in the U.S. alone.
Tooth sensitivity can strike at any time, leaving teeth prey to unexpected and, frequently, untimely pain episodes; you could be enjoying a family dinner or even having a night out with your closest friends. It’s true, sensitive teeth are more prone to this condition, but even if your teeth are healthy, prevention is necessary.
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What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
Whether it’s merely episodic or it has already turned into a chronic problem, tooth sensitivity can have a significant impact on our overall quality of life, inasmuch as giving us some hard time at work or ruining big-picture moments in our lives. However, putting up with the pain is unnecessary.
Here at Loudoun Orthodontics, we approach tooth sensitivity as a completely containable dental condition, as long as we understand what we’re fighting against and what’s causing it. With this in mind, our purpose for today is to accompany you in a tooth-sensitivity-training journey, helping you discover the leading causes of this dental condition. At the end of this blog, you will know the causes of tooth sensitivity inside out and how to protect yourself against a manageable dental condition!
#1: Excessive Brushing
In our quest to ensure the proper dental care for our teeth, we frequently find ourselves brushing our teeth overzealously. While our intentions might be noble, it is essential to understand that we can achieve proper dental care without putting excessive stress on our teeth.
On the contrary, excessive brushing can wear off the enamel, your teeth’s defensive shield, and expose microscopic canals that lead towards the dentin, leading to increased tooth sensitivity.
In this case, a few changes in your “dental care behavior” would be more than welcome. Instead of overzealously brushing your teeth (in a rush, probably), create a schedule that gives you an appropriate amount of time to clean your teeth slowly and more carefully. Moreover, choosing a toothbrush with softer bristles can help you in this quest as well.
#2: Acidic Foods
Once pathways in your tooth enamel are created, any food particles can reach and cause a painful reaction in your dentin. Out of all foods, the ones that contain acids in a higher concentration will become your archenemies since they are more likely to cause acute pain episodes. As such, our recommendation for you is to stay away from highly acidic foods and drinks, such as tomato sauce, sports drinks, lemons, pickles, and wine, as long as possible.
#3: The Bad Habit of Tooth Grinding
It’s true, we’ve all experienced moments when, out of stress, anger, or anxiety, we couldn’t help grinding our teeth. Our teeth are surrounded by enamel, the most resilient substance in our bodies, which protects the dentin and the pulp from external factors. However, tooth grinding, once turned into a habit, can seriously damage the enamel layer and, once again, expose your dentin to food particles and bacteria.
To protect yourself against the long-term damages of tooth grinding, make sure that you call in the help of an orthodontist, who can prescribe a custom-made mouth guard to help you ward off the downsides of this detrimental habit.
#4: Improper Mouthwash and Tooth-Whitening Toothpaste
Frequently, we find ourselves sitting in front of bountiful shelves of toothpaste and mouthwash, trying to find an answer to the question, “Which product will suit my dental needs best?” Instead of checking out the price tag or listening to recommendations lacking in expertise, you should make sure that the toothpaste and mouthwash of your choice would not worsen your tooth sensitivity even further.
For that reason, try to avoid toothpaste that contains tooth-whitening chemicals and over-the-counter mouthwashes with a high alcohol concentration. As a solution, orient yourself towards regular toothpaste and neutral fluoride rinses.
#5: Gum Disease
Due to more precarious dental care, plaque and tartar build-up can lead to gum disease or gingivitis. From gingivitis, there’s only one step towards receding gums, an ordinary process in older patients, which causes the retreat of gum tissue and the exposure of the tooth root to bacteria and, inherently, tooth sensitivity. In such an instance, your orthodontist can refer you to the appropriate specialist to address these concerns.
#6: Recent Dental Procedure
There’s no surprise that dental procedures usually result in mild tooth sensitivity when, for example, a tooth nerve suffers inflammation. Although the enamel and cementum protect the inner part of the tooth, procedures such as fillings work too close to the nerve endings and can cause a mildly uncomfortable sensation. This discomfort should recede after a short time; however, prolonged pain is a regular sign of infection, which calls for an appointment with your general dentist.
#7: Damaged Teeth
Any significant damage to the tooth, such as chipping or cracking, can exacerbate your tooth sensitivity. In this case, make sure that you get in touch with your general dentist right away, who will conclude whether a dental crown or extraction is the right solution for you.
Schedule your COMPLIMENTARY Consultation!
The time has come for you to deal with your tooth sensitivity issues once and for all and enjoy rock-solid dental health. Here at Loudoun Orthodontics, our medical team boasts a strong knowledge and expertise in the realm of tooth sensitivity, and it’s more than ready to guide you towards proper dental care. Always remember that we’re one click away! Go ahead, schedule a complimentary consultation with us, or check out our blog!