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Causes and Prevention of Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth can be a nuisance, making enjoying some of your favorite foods and drinks difficult. But what causes this discomfort, and how can it be prevented?

Keep reading to learn about the causes of sensitive teeth and tips on preventing the issue.

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

Sensitive teeth occur when the underlying layer of your teeth, known as dentin, becomes exposed. This can happen for several reasons:

●      Enamel Erosion: The hard outer layer of your teeth is called enamel. When enamel erodes, it exposes the dentin, leading to sensitivity. Acidic foods and drinks, such as citrus fruits and soda, can contribute to enamel erosion.

●      Gum Recession: As you age or due to gum disease, your gums may recede, exposing the roots of your teeth. This can make your teeth more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures.

●      Tooth Decay: Cavities or tooth decay can lead to sensitive teeth. When bacteria erode your enamel, the dentin and nerves in your teeth may become exposed.

●      Teeth Grinding: Grinding your teeth, known as bruxism, can wear down your enamel and lead to sensitivity.

●      Aggressive Brushing: Brushing your teeth too hard or using a toothbrush with stiff bristles can wear down your enamel and irritate your gums, leading to sensitivity.

●      Dental Procedures: Certain dental procedures, such as cleanings, fillings, or crowns, can temporarily cause sensitivity.

●      Cracked Teeth: A cracked tooth can expose the nerves and dentin, leading to sensitivity.

How to Prevent Sensitive Teeth

Now that you know what causes sensitive teeth, here are some tips to help you prevent and manage the discomfort:

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene

Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential for preventing sensitive teeth and promoting overall dental health. This includes brushing your teeth twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, which helps remove plaque and food particles contributing to decay and sensitivity.

It is advisable to floss daily to clean between teeth and along the gumline, where your toothbrush may not reach. Proper oral hygiene practices keep your teeth clean and healthy and reduce the risk of gum disease and enamel erosion, two common causes of tooth sensitivity.

Use a Desensitizing Toothpaste

These specialized toothpaste contain ingredients like potassium nitrate or strontium chloride, which help block the nerve pathways that transmit pain signals from the tooth surface to the brain. By consistently using a desensitizing toothpaste as part of your oral hygiene routine, you can gradually reduce sensitivity and enjoy relief from discomfort. Following the instructions and using the toothpaste regularly is important for best results. If sensitivity persists or worsens, consult your dentist for further evaluation and treatment options.

Watch Your Diet

Limiting the consumption of acidic foods and beverages like citrus fruits, tomatoes, and sodas can help protect your tooth enamel from erosion, which can contribute to sensitivity. When you indulge in acidic foods or drinks, consider rinsing your mouth with water afterward to help neutralize the acid and minimize its effects on your teeth.

Additionally, reducing your intake of sugary snacks and beverages can lower your risk of tooth decay, another common cause of sensitivity. Opting for a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and dairy products can provide essential nutrients for strong teeth and gums.

If you are experiencing persistent sensitivity, it is best to seek professional advice from expert dentists like those at The Family Dental Center to rule out any underlying issues. Contact us to schedule a consultation.

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