Have you ever experienced sensitivity when eating ice cream? Teeth sensitivity is a common condition which can affect people of all ages. Discomfort or pain when eating hot, cold, sweet, or acidic food and drinks is a classic sign of tooth sensitivity. Some people can also experience sensitivity when breathing in cold air.
Sensitivity can be irregular or frequent. In addition, the level of discomfort felt can vary amongst individuals.
If you feel any sensitivity, it is important to visit your dentist as soon as possible for a check–up to find the cause of the sensitivity.
Below we will be sharing some further insight into tooth sensitivity, its causes, and some tips for prevention.
Why Does Tooth Sensitivity Occur?
Sensitivity can affect either a single tooth or multiple teeth. Some people experience mild discomfort, whilst others experience severe pain. Sensitivity can be triggered by stimuli such as:
- Eating/drinking cold or hot food/beverages
- Brushing your teeth with cold water
- Consumption of acidic foods/beverages
- Breathing in cold air
Human teeth have a hard and protective layer of enamel which covers the outer surface. Tooth enamel helps to guard the teeth against the effects of bacteria (plaque), in addition to offering thermal protection. Whilst enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, it is not immune to wear and tear. Grinding, frequent consumption of acidic food/beverages and aggressive brushing can cause excessive enamel wear, eventually resulting in exposure of the inner layer of the tooth (dentine). This can cause discomfort or sensitivity.
Should I Be Concerned about Tooth Sensitivity?
Many people experience tooth sensitivity. If this is a concern, a visit to the dentist to identify the cause is necessary.
Some causes of tooth sensitivity include:
- Periodontitis (gum disease) – Gum recession from gum disease can expose surfaces, resulting in sensitivity
- Aggressive toothbrushing – Incorrect brushing technique or toothbrushes with hard bristles can cause excessive wear
- Grinding – Excessive toothwear can result from grinding, especially during night-time
- Tooth erosion – Dietary acid and acid from gastric reflux can damage enamel
- Damaged or Decayed Teeth – People with dental caries (cavities) or chipped/cracked teeth can experience tooth sensitivity if the damage has exposed the dental pulp or dentine.
Tips for Minimising Tooth Sensitivity
You can minimise your risk of experiencing tooth sensitivity by maintaining good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist every 6 months for a check-up. When brushing, use gentle pressure and a toothbrush with soft bristles to avoid damage to tooth enamel. It is also a good idea to reduce consumption of acidic/sugary food and beverages.
If you have mild tooth sensitivity, you may wish to try a toothpaste specifically designed to reduce tooth sensitivity. Colgate pro Relief and Sensodyne toothpastes are two popular products which can de-sensitize teeth.
A night guard (occlusal splint) can help protect your teeth if you grind while you are sleeping.
Tooth Sensitivity? Book an Appointment at iSmile Dentistry Today
Living with chronic tooth sensitivity can be very painful and disconcerting, but professional treatment and symptom relief is only a phone call away. Call iSmile Dentistry today on 02 9030 4310 and our expert team will diagnose and treat the cause of your tooth sensitivity, so that you can comfortably enjoy your favourite food and drink once again.