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Understanding Sensitive Teeth

When you drink something cold or hot, do you feel a stinging or painful sensation in your teeth? If so, you’re no stranger to what it feels like to have sensitive teeth or gums. Unfortunately, sensitive teeth are an all too common problem that people face. Thankfully, your sensitivity isn’t something that you have to live with.

Routine brushing and flossing are often painful for people who have sensitive teeth. There are even some who experience pain when taking in a breath of cold air. Having this level of sensitivity is not only painful but also miserable.

In order to get back to enjoying the foods you love, such as ice cream or hot coffee, you have to deal with the cause of the tooth sensitivity. There are plenty of problems that can lead to tooth sensitivity. Narrowing it down can be challenging, but your dentist should be able to help you.

Sometimes, the cause of sensitivity is easy to spot, such as a cracked or chipped tooth. Other times, it may be something like worn-down tooth enamel. It’s also not uncommon for this problem to stem from issues with your gums, such as receded gums.

What’s the best course of action to deal with tooth sensitivity? It really depends on what’s causing your tooth sensitivity. Determining the cause has to be the first step in treating the problem.

What Is Causing Your Teeth Sensitivity?

First, let’s take a look at the most common causes of sensitivity in teeth. Since these problems occur most frequently, it stands to reason that you should test for these first:

  1. Hard brushing or hard toothbrush bristles — Many people brush their teeth too hard. They often think that it cleans their teeth better. However, brushing too hard breaks down the enamel on your teeth, making them more sensitive. Hard toothbrush bristles have the same effect.
  2. Teeth grinding — Another common problem that people face is grinding their teeth while they sleep. Some people aren’t even aware that they do this. Over time, this not only wears down the teeth but also weakens them.
  3. Too much acidic food — Citrus fruits, pickles and even tomatoes are high in acidity. What you might not know is that acidic foods wear down your tooth enamel, which can lead to tooth sensitivity.
  4. Teeth whitening products — Some of the most common oral hygiene products that people buy are tooth whitening products. This includes tooth whitening mouthwash, toothpaste and teeth whitening strips. While these do get your teeth white, the abrasive nature of these products can wear down your teeth if you use them too often.
  5. Mouthwashes with alcohol — It’s not uncommon to find mouthwashes that have alcohol in them. While these products clean your mouth, they can actually cause your teeth to become more sensitive.
  6. Receding gums — If you struggle with gum disease or receding gums, the roots of your teeth might be exposed. The roots are much more sensitive, which may be the cause of your sensitivity.
  7. Cracked teeth — Chipped or cracked teeth are typically more sensitive. This is because the nerves are more exposed. Over time, these issues can turn from sensitivity to extreme pain.
  8. Decay around your fillings — Did you know that an old filling can fracture? They can, and if they do, they leave your teeth exposed to bacteria and acids. Underneath these fillings, your teeth are sensitive, which can cause tooth sensitivity.

What You Can Do to Treat Sensitive Teeth and Gums

Now you know some of the most common problems that lead to sensitivity in your teeth, but what can you do to treat it? Here are some steps that you can take to improve sensitivity in your teeth:

  • Start by visiting your local dentist in Northern Virginia. Regular dental checkups are important in helping to fight tooth sensitivity.
  • At home, be consistent with your own dental routine. This includes brushing twice a day and flossing. Consider working a fluoride rinse into your routine as well.
  • Purchase a soft-bristled toothbrush, and don’t use too much pressure while you’re brushing.
  • Buy toothpaste that’s formulated to deal with sensitive teeth.
  • If you grind your teeth, talk to your dentist about purchasing a night guard.
  • Avoid eating foods that are high in acidity, such as oranges, lemons and tomatoes. Eventually, you can get back to eating these foods in moderation, but you should make an effort to deal with your teeth sensitivity first.

Take a Stand Against Tooth Sensitivity

You don’t have to live with tooth sensitivity anymore. You can take steps to care for your teeth and help lessen the sensitivity that you feel. Keep in mind that your best bet is to visit your dentist to get treatment for teeth sensitivity. Meanwhile, here are a few tips that can help you as well:

  1. Start using toothpaste made for sensitive teeth. This type of special toothpaste helps dull the sharp pain that you feel from overly sensitive teeth. It typically only takes a few applications to start feeling the relief.
  2. Add fluoride to your oral care routine. Fluoride can go a long way in helping to strengthen your teeth enamel. Using fluoride regularly can prevent future sensitivity from occurring.
  3. Deal with receding gums by talking to your dentist about what you can do to hinder and reverse this issue. The reason is that exposed tooth roots are a common cause of tooth sensitivity.

The good news for you is that tooth and gum sensitivity is not only treatable but also preventable. If you’re worried about future tooth sensitivity, practice good dental care at home. However, brushing twice a day and flossing aren’t enough to prevent tooth sensitivity. You have to visit your dentist for regular checkups too.

If you’re dealing with tooth sensitivity, you know that it can be a real pain. That said, you don’t have to suffer. You can take steps today to take your life back from sensitive teeth. By using these tips and visiting your dentist, you can start down the path of living life without the pain.

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