Do you feel a sharp, sudden pain in your teeth when you eat or drink something sour, sweet, cold, or hot? Can even a breath of cold air cause sudden pain to shoot deep into the nerves of your teeth? If this happens to you, the enamel of your teeth is most likely damaged, causing you to experience teeth sensitivity.
Tooth decay eats away at the tooth enamel, and exposes the dentin. When you have the beginnings of gum disease, your gums start to recede, again exposing the dentin. The dentin is the inner part of the tooth where you can find many tiny tubes leading to the pulp or the nerve center of the tooth. Triggers like heat, cold, or sour and sweet food activates these channels, and causes you to feel sharp, sudden sensations of pain in your teeth.
What causes sensitive teeth?
1. Normal Wear-and-Tear
Over time, the enamel in your teeth wears down to expose the dentin.
2. Cracked Teeth
Do you enjoy eating hard candy or munching on ice cubes? Habits like these can cause chipped, broken, or cracked teeth. When your tooth is cracked, the pulp found in the center tends to become irritated when you chew food, causing pain. Bacteria may lodge in the cracks, and cause swelling, thereby resulting in more pain.
3. Tooth decay
Tooth decay, particularly close to the gum line, exposes the dentin.
4. Gingivitis or periodontitis
Gum disease causes the gums to swell and pull back, creating gaps between the gums and the teeth, and exposing the roots of your teeth.
5. Teeth grinding
Enamel is strong. However, when you habitually grind or clench your teeth, you tend to wear away the enamel, and leave the dentin unprotected. You may have to consider using a mouth guard if you grind your teeth while sleeping.
6. Excessive use of mouthwash and teeth-whitening products
These products contain ingredients that make the teeth sensitive to pain.
People in their 20’s seem more prone to having sensitive teeth.
8. Buildup of Plaque
When plaque builds up on the tooth surfaces close to the roots, the teeth become more sensitive to pain.
9. Acidic Food
When you make it a habit to consume food and beverages with high acid content, you tend to make your teeth more sensitive to pain. If you have tooth sensitivity, avoid pickles, green mango, tomatoes and other citrus fruits with natural acids that tend to eat away at the enamel.
10. Dental Procedures
There is such a thing as post-dental treatment sensitivity. When you have dental work done on your teeth like teeth whitening, fillings, replacement crowns, root planing, tooth restoration, and the like, your teeth become more sensitive to pain right after the dental procedure. However, the tooth sensitivity you experience is likely to be short-term.
11. Brushing Your Teeth Too Forcefully
Do you have the tendency to brush your teeth too enthusiastically? If you do, you make it easy for gums to pull away, and leave the roots of your teeth exposed. Brushing your teeth too hard can also tear down the enamel in time, leaving the sensitive dentin exposed.
Make it a habit to be gentle when you brush your teeth, and use a toothbrush with soft bristles.