Understanding Teeth Sensitivity

Have you noticed your teeth feel sensitive when you brush, drink something cold or bite into a cold ice cream cone? You are certainly not the only one. In fact, 1 out of 8 Americans suffer from teeth sensitivity.

There are a myriad of causes for teeth sensitivity. The most common causes include:

  • Brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush
  • Gum recession or disease
  • Cracked tooth/teeth
  • Acidic foods

Many of these causes interfere with the dentin – a layer of tooth that contains canals connecting to the pulp of the tooth. The pulp houses the tooth’s nerve and blood supply. When the dentin is exposed or excessive pressure is applied, a pain response can be triggered that causes teeth sensitivity.

Fortunately, teeth sensitivity can be easily prevented. First, and most importantly, a good oral hygiene routine is your best bet for avoiding sensitive teeth. Poor dental hygiene can leave your teeth vulnerable to bacteria that can build up around the teeth and lead to receding gums. Flossing is a key step in preventing bacteria and plaque from building up around the gumline.

Another simple preventive tip is to use a toothbrush with soft bristles and desensitizing toothpaste. Soft-bristled toothbrushes are not as abrasive on the surface of your teeth and gums.

Additionally, be mindful of the amount of acidic foods you’re eating. Foods with high-acidity can slowly dissolve tooth enamel and cause dentin exposure. If your teeth are already sensitive, acidic food can trigger the pain response more easily.

If you are experiencing sensitivity for an extended period of time, speak to your dentist. Your dentist can help identify the problem and offer recommendations for treatment.

The information contained above is intended to be educational in nature, does not constitute medical advice, and should not be relied on as a substitute for actual professional medical advice, care or treatment. If you have any vision, dental or other health related concerns, VBA encourages you to immediately contact your optometrist/ophthalmologist, dentist/orthodontist or any other competent, licensed, medical professional.