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What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

2016 10 10
Sensitive teeth are a common complaint. The pain experienced can last anything from moments to hours, and the causes can range from very minor ones, up to serious dental or general health complaints.

Many people suffer from sensitive teeth, however it’s more common in women and people aged between 20 and 40.(OHF)

Here, we’ve explored some of the common symptoms and causes behind ‘dentine sensitivity’, as it is sometimes known.

What are the common causes behind sensitive teeth?

Teeth experience pain when the enamel (the hard layer on the outer side of your tooth), is exposed or worn down and contact is made with the sensitive part, the ‘dentine’ beneath. This can be due to a host of factors.

Receding gums: You gums can wear or recede down over time due to excessive brushing, or naturally, due to age.

Grinding teeth: This is a bad habit that can have serious consequences for your teeth. Wearing down the enamel can leave the dentine exposed, causes twinges of pain, such as when eating hot or cold foods.

Teeth-whitening toothpaste: Certain whitening toothpastes contain abrasive chemicals which can lead to tooth sensitivity. (Source). Changing your toothpaste may help.

Brushing too hard: Dental sensitivity may be due to overzealous use of a toothbrush, again causing exposure of the highly-sensitive dentine beneath your teeth’s enamel (Source).

Cracked tooth: A cracked tooth can cause a great deal of pain. It can vary in severity from a small crack, down to one that goes through to the core of the tooth.

Dental erosion: Erosion of the tooth’s outer layer, the enamel, can occur over time due eating acidic foods, such as citrus fruits and fizzy drinks. Moderating how much of these you eat and drink can help.

Gum disease: Also known as periodontal disease, this is the infection of the gum and the bone that supports teeth.

General health problems: There may be an underlying cause for sensitive teeth, related to general health, such as pregnancy bulimia or other factors.

What should I do if I experience sensitive teeth?

You can manage and treat sensitive teeth by taking steps such as brushing twice a day to remove plaque, and using a toothpaste designed specifically for sensitive teeth.

You can also apply the paste onto the affected teeth and gums. It can take several days to some weeks for this to have an effect.

If your symptoms persist, it is best to visit the dentist to accurately diagnose and treat the problem (Source).