Do cold drinks or sweet treats cause your teeth to hurt? Do you feel pain when you brush your teeth? Ouch! There are different triggers that can cause pain or discomfort in sensitive teeth, and different people have different types of tooth sensitivity experiences. The type of pain can range in severity, frequency and duration.
Having sensitive teeth is fairly common, as about 1 in 8 people experience it (Wow!) according to the Journal of American Dentistry. Discomfort can happen to anyone and there are no specific risk factors. Fortunately, the underlying cause is rarely serious, but it needs to be addressed to relieve your discomfort.
Here are common causes of tooth sensitivity:
- You brush too hard. Does your toothbrush get mangled fairly quickly? If so, you might be applying too much force when brushing your teeth and wearing down the enamel that protects the dentin, the softer inner core of your tooth. This exposes the tubes and canals that lead to your dental nerves, causing pain and discomfort. Use a lighter touch and a softer brush to protect your teeth. Our Professional Sonic Toothbrush has 31,000 pulses per minute and does the scrubbing work for you. It also has a soft mode to gently clean sensitive teeth.
- You use whitening toothpaste. Many whitening toothpastes contain chemicals that wear down the enamel of your teeth. Consider switching to toothpaste specifically made for sensitive teeth. Anti-sensitivity formulas contain compounds that block sensations form the tooth to the nerve.
- Your gums are receding. Gums recede naturally from age as well as when gingivitis or gum disease is present. As the gums recede they expose the dentin and this causes soreness. Your dentist can help you clear up any gum disease and treat the exposed dentin if necessary. Our Poseidon Inductive Rechargeable Oral Irrigator can help keep gums healthy! A pulsed jet of water cleans in-between teeth, and below the gum line, to help keep your teeth and gums healthy. The inductive charger keeps your irrigator fully charged and ready to use.
- You have an acidic diet. Acidic foods and beverages such as citrus, tomatoes, soda, tea, and coffee can also strip enamel away from the teeth. Eating and drinking less of these foods can help ease irritation. If you already notice sensitivity, be sure to rinse with water after eating acidic foods to prevent the acids from sticking to your teeth. In addition, wait at least 30 minutes before brushing so you avoid grinding the acids into your pearly whites!
- You have a buildup of plaque. Plaque builds up when you slack off on your dental care. Brushing teeth twice a day and flossing daily can keep teeth free from plaque. If you’re not a fan of traditional string floss, try our Professional Rechargeable Oral Irrigator water flosser which is a gentle and effective alternative. The water stream can reach places that brushing and traditional floss simply cannot. It’s especially effective for cleaning around braces, bridgework, and dental implants.
- You grind or clench your teeth. Over time, the friction from clenching your teeth or grinding your teeth together causes the enamel to erode. Your dentist can prescribe a custom fit mouth guard to help protect your teeth, especially while you sleep. A custom fit mouth guard will stay in place and protect teeth more efficiently than an over-the-counter model.
- You had dental work done. It’s common to experience some discomfort after a dental procedure. Sensitivity should subside within a few weeks. However, if pain persists, you should follow up with your dentist as your bite may need to be adjusted or there could be an infection.
- You bleach your teeth at home. Whitening strips and at-home bleaching kits can exacerbate tooth sensitivity. Consult your dentist about having your teeth whitened in the office. They may not recommend whitening if your teeth are already sensitive.
- You use too much mouthwash. Alcohol and other chemicals in mouthwash have the same effect on your teeth as whitening toothpaste. Consider switching to a fluoride rinse, which can help strengthen the enamel in your teeth. Stronger teeth are also less resistant to decay. You can also skip mouthwash rinses and maintain good brushing and flossing habits.
- You have tooth decay. Weakened fillings and tiny cracks or fissures can lead to bacteria buildup and cause decay. This decay will cause tenderness in teeth. Be sure to mention pain and discomfort to your dentist so they can treat the decay and properly fill your tooth.
- Your tooth is cracked. Cracked or chipped teeth are likely to cause a sharper pain in your mouth. Visit your dentist right away if you experience a shooting pain while biting down on foods. They can evaluate the damage and suggest a course of treatment and care.
Proper oral hygiene is key to preventing many causes of tooth pain and discomfort. Regular visits to your dentist will also help keep your teeth healthy by catching and addressing the smaller issues before they become larger ones. Your dentist can also make suggestions to help ease any irritation that you may be experiencing. The good news? You can simply relieve your symptoms and keep your smile bright just by practicing proper oral hygiene.
Let us know about your experience!