Tooth sensitivity, also known as root or dentine hypersensitivity, is a common condition described by sharp pain triggered by exposing the tooth to cold, hot, acidic, or sweet food and drinks. Pain can also be felt after breathing in cold air.
There are actually many reasons why a person develops sensitive teeth. Some of the most reported factors are the following:
· Tooth whitening. Eighty percent of patients who undergo teeth whitening experience sensitive teeth because of the whitening ingredients that penetrate the tooth enamel—carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide.
· Cracked teeth or tooth decay. Chipped, broken, or decayed teeth can expose the sensitive layers of your teeth and cause pain when exposed to food and extreme temperatures.
· Teeth grinding. Grinding your teeth or clenching them when you’re exerting effort or strong emotions can hasten the natural wear and tear of your tooth’s enamel, exposing your dentin and causing tooth sensitivity.
· Gum disease (gingivitis). When your gums are inflamed, the supporting ligaments are lost, exposing the root surface closely surrounding the nerve of the tooth. Chipped or cracked teeth can also easily be filled with bacteria from food morsels and plaque. Once bacteria enter the pulp, they can cause inflammation and worsen tooth sensitivity.
· Brushing excessively. Brushing too hard or using a toothbrush that has hard bristles can wear down your tooth’s enamel and expose your dentin. Excessive brushing is also the common reason behind receding gums, which also contributes to tooth sensitivity.
· Mouthwash. Some of the over-the-counter mouthwashes available contain acids that can damage the layers of your teeth and lead to tooth sensitivity.
· Plaque. Plaque produces a type of acid that irritates teeth and may cause hypersensitivity.
· Acidic foods. When you regularly consume sour foods, enamel erosion can also happen. This holds true to those suffering from bulimia and GERD.
· Dental procedures. Routine dental procedures like teeth cleaning, crown placement, root planning, and tooth restoration can trigger dental hypersensitivity. Note, though, that the sensitivity is just temporary and the discomfort should go away within 4 to 6 weeks.
Dealing with that Thing Called Tooth Sensitivity