Why Are Your Teeth Sensitive?

Sensitive teeth can be frustrating. Sometimes you just want to bite right into ice cream but the thought of it sends a shiver down your spine. If you struggle with this, you are not alone. Statistics show that one out of every eight Americans suffers from teeth sensitivity— Here are a few reasons why your teeth may be sensitive. 

Brushing Teeth Too Hard

Take it easy the next time you brush! Your enamel is your protective layer for your teeth, protecting it should be a top priority. Brushing too hard and using a toothbrush with stiff, coarse bristles can wear down and damage both the enamel and gums. This can also lead to numerous issues, such as gum recession and enamel wear, both of which are linked to tooth sensitivity. 

Teeth Whitening 

While most teeth whitening options are safe, excessive whitening can lead to sensitivity issues. With most whitening treatments, you will experience a temporary sensitivity due to the microscopic pores in your enamel. This opens up to let the whitening treatment reach the dentin (where teeth are stained). The pores will close, but avoiding hot or cold beverages or foods is best until it subsides.

Whitening your teeth too much using at-home whitening treatments may cause prolonged sensitivity, it is recommended that you follow directions and consult your dentist before using any teeth whitening methods.

Receding Gums

Receding gums are one of the leading causes of tooth sensitivity. This is because when gums begin to recede they can leave the soft dentine inside your tooth exposed. Dentine is full of millions of tiny holes that lead directly to the nerve at the center of the tooth. When you eat or drink something cold, hot, sweet, or sour this stimulus can trigger the nerve causing that short, sharp sensation of sensitivity pain — This is yet another reason why maintaining your oral health is essential. 

Grinding Teeth

Do you catch yourself clenching your jaw, or grinding your teeth throughout the day or night? If you do, you may also suffer from sensitive teeth. Teeth grinding (also known as bruxism) is just another way our bodies react to stress, but if left unchecked, it can cause major tooth sensitivity. (Ironically, grinding your teeth will lead to more pain and stress.. ) The damage from grinding your teeth happens slowly over time: grinding creates tiny cracks in the enamel of your teeth. Eventually, dentin, the sensitive layer under your enamel, becomes exposed and makes your teeth vulnerable to hot and cold temperatures.

Acidic Foods or GERD

Over time, excess consumption of acidic foods without proper oral care can damage your enamel and weaken your gum line, exposing your dentin to an acidic environment. Foods like pickles, tomatoes, citrus, yogurt, and beans are acidic. Enjoying these foods in moderation and maintaining proper dental health, should help prevent further damage.

The acid buildup caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), more commonly known as “acid reflux,” can erode your enamel over time. Speaking to your doctor about ways to ease your acid reflux may help prevent any erosion that leads to teeth sensitivity.

The enamel of the teeth begins dissolving at a pH of 5.5, and the pH of stomach acid is acidic (1.5 to 3.5). Excessive exposure to the acid begins to thin and dissolve away the protective coating of the teeth, leaving them weakened. This is when you would start to notice the sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages. When the enamel wears away, the sensitive inner dentin layer of the tooth is exposed, which can lead to additional dental issues. 

Loose Filling

A loose filling may result in tooth sensitivity if you have fillings in your teeth. Without the filling to protect the inner layers of your tooth, bacteria, acids, and hot/cold temperatures, your nerves are directly exposed. Contact us at Kaysville Family Dentistry, if you are experiencing pain or discomfort with your fillings.

Keeping on top of your dental visits can prevent problems like sensitivity, loose fillings, and other issues listed above. Make an appointment today to keep your dental health in check!

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