When teeth are sensitive, patients experience discomfort triggered by sour, sweet, hot and cold foods and drinks, or even when they breathe cold air. Pain can be anything from sudden and sharp to prolonged and dull, reaching into the nerve endings of the teeth. Sensitivity occurs when the inner layers of the teeth become exposed because of receding gums, and there are many factors that can lead to tooth sensitivity.
Over years, using a too-hard toothbrush or brushing too vigorously can lead to worn enamel and exposed dentin; it can also cause gum recession (where the gums pull away from the teeth). When the gums pull away from the teeth, nerve endings are exposed and sensitivity can occur.
Receding Gum Lines
As the gums shift away from the teeth (because of vigorous brushing or serious conditions like periodontal disease), the roots of the teeth can become exposed. Gingivitis, or gum disease, can also cause sensitivity. Sore and inflamed gum tissues can lead to tooth sensitivity because supporting ligaments are lost, exposing roots that lead to the nerves in the teeth.
Cracked or Chipped Teeth
A broken, cracked or chipped tooth can fill with plaque, which harbors bacteria. Over time, these bacteria can work their way into the tooth pulp, causing inflammation, infection and sensitivity.
Bruxism (Grinding of the Teeth)
Those that have a habit of clenching or grinding their teeth will eventually experience worn enamel, which can expose the dentin and other tooth layers underneath. With enough wear, nerves can be exposed and teeth can become more sensitive to hot and cold.
In most cases, the sensitivity of teeth is highest between 25-30. However, every set of teeth is different, and your Dentist in Victorville can recommend a care regimen that meets your needs at any age.
Mouthwashes are good at killing germs in the mouth, but can lead to sensitivity over time. Some mouthwashes are very acidic; acid can make teeth more sensitive if the dentin is exposed. If you are dentin-sensitive, ask about the use of a pH-neutral fluoride mouthwash.
Acid in Drinks and Foods
Patients eating acidic foods such as tomatoes, pickles, citrus fruit and tea can all lose enamel to erosion, and over time, it can lead to increased sensitivity. Your West Covina Family Dentistry office may be able to recommend a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.
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