1 IN EVERY 8 Americans (including kids) has sensitive teeth. To understand why, we’ll need to take a look at dental anatomy.
Erosion and the Layers of a Tooth
Every tooth has nerves at the center. When the tooth is healthy, the nerve is protected by the outer layers. If the tooth enamel erodes enough, it can expose the porous dentin layer and subject the nerves to much more input than they’re supposed to get. That tends to make temperature changes or even a sudden burst of sour or sweet flavor very uncomfortable or even painful.
Other Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
Erosion is the main cause of tooth sensitivity but not the only one. Exposed roots can be very sensitive because roots rely on gum tissue to protect them, not enamel. Gum recession (which is most often caused by brushing too hard) can leave roots exposed and vulnerable. Damage to a tooth, whether through an accident or cavities, also leads to sensitivity.
Ways to Minimize Sensitivity
There are several things to do for sensitive teeth. First, throw out the hard-bristled toothbrush and get a soft-bristled one. It doesn’t take much pressure to clean away plaque when we brush, but too much can scrape away enamel and gum tissue. Switching to a toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth should also help, and cut back on sugar intake and very acidic foods and drinks.
The Dentist Can Help!
If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, make sure to bring it up with the dentist. We can determine the cause of the problem and recommend or prescribe a toothpaste that could help or schedule any necessary treatment. Every bite of food or swallow of drink you enjoy shouldn’t come at the price of a nasty jolt!