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Tooth Sensitivity: Ten Common Causes
Feb 13, 2019

woman with toothache Dental Care Center

Do you suffer from sharp, shooting pain in your teeth when you take a bite of ice cream or eat acidic foods? You are not alone. Many Americans actually face regular tooth sensitivity.

This sharp pain occurs when the middle layer of teeth, dentin, is exposed due to receding gum tissue. When the dentin becomes exposed, it leads directly to the nerve center of the tooth, resulting in the pain you feel. There are many reasons you might be suffering from sensitivity, but here are the 10 most reported.

The 10 Most Common Causes of Tooth Sensitivity:

  • Brushing too hard. Brushing with too much force or a hard-bristled toothbrush can wear down enamel and cause gum recession over time. This causes the sensitive layer, the dentin, to become exposed. This leads to discomfort when exposed to hot, cold, or acidic food and drink.
  • Tooth decay near gums. Tooth decay near the gums or fillings can cause enamel breakdown.
  • Acidic foods. Frequently consuming highly acidic foods such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, or pickles can not only cause you pain but actually cause enamel erosion.
  • Teeth whitening products. Teeth whitening chemicals added to toothpaste or whitening strips is a leading cause of sensitivity.
  • Cracked teeth. Chipped or broken teeth can easily fill with bacteria that enters nerves and causes inflammation. Pain from chipped or broken teeth can go beyond sensitivity and should always be seen by a dentist.
  • Teeth grinding. Grinding or clenching teeth at night can wear down enamel, exposing the sensitive parts of your teeth.
  • Gum disease. Gum disease (gingivitis) causes inflamed and sore gum tissue and also causes the gums to recede, which only increases sensitivity.
  • Mouthwash use. Some over-the-counter mouthwashes contain chemicals and alcohols, much like those in teeth whitening products. These products make your teeth more sensitive. Try a fluoride rinse from your dentist instead.
  • Recent dental procedures. Tooth sensitivity can increase right after you’ve had a dental procedure such as a root canal, teeth cleaning, or extraction. This sensitivity should only be temporary and your dentist will warn you of it.
  • Plaque build-up. Excessive plaque build-up and the presence of plaque on root surfaces can cause enamel to wear down, causing sensitivity.

Where To Start

Sensitivity is a common problem, but a treatable one. The first step is to maintain good oral hygiene, therefore it’s important to properly brush and floss. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste for sensitive teeth leads to less irritation.

If the problem persists and causes frequent pain, be sure to visit the Dental Care Center. We can pinpoint your sensitivity problem, provide further solutions, and offer options for your specific issue.

Tooth sensitivity is a problem that affects many people— but you don’t have to put up with the pain!