Causes of tooth sensitivity and advice about how to avoid it
Now that the temperatures have started to rise, you will feel more and more like a nice cool ice cream or a soft drink with ice. But ouch! An irritating pain in your teeth does not let you eat or drink in peace.
If this happens, it is more than likely that you are suffering from sensitive teeth. To confirm this, you should visit your odontologist to have your mouth examined and to get a complete diagnosis of the state of your oral health.
In any case, in this blog entry you will find some advice about how to prevent tooth sensitivity, its causes and the treatments that are available to prevent and fight this irksome dental problem.
What is tooth sensitivity?
The first thing that you should know is that this dental disease manifests itself in the form of a sharp dental pain experienced when the dentine is exposed. It appears after contact with apparently inoffensive external stimuli such as heat or cold.
To understand what tooth sensitivity is, you need to know how your teeth are formed. To start with, the visible part of your teeth is formed by three layers.
The outer layer, also known as enamel, is the hardest part.
If we go deeper into the tooth, we find the core of the tooth which is formed by dentine, which is a softer tissue containing millions of tiny canaliculi or pores.
And finally, we have the deepest part of the tooth which is known as the pulp. The nerves of the tooth are located here.
In the area of the root, the teeth are also covered by the cement. This dental component is a hard layer that acts to protect the root of the tooth, and it is the area where the periodontal ligament and the tooth come together.
The first symptom of tooth sensitivity that you experience will be a short, sharp pain that occurs when the dentine, initially covered by enamel or by cement, becomes exposed, revealing the small holes located inside it. These holes are the openings to the channels that run through the dentine to the centre of the tooth where the nerve is located.
This small stimulus can travel through the small holes and stimulate the nerve whenever you eat or drink something cold, hot, sweet or acidic.
What causes tooth sensitivity?
The most frequent cause of dentinal or tooth sensitivity is gingival recession, a process that occurs after the evolution of untreated gingivitis. But there are also some other triggers:
1. Oral hygiene problems
Perhaps, one of the most determining factors is poor oral hygiene or an absence of oral hygiene.
If you use too much force when brushing you can cause gingival recession, and this can damage the tissue that protects your teeth. Accordingly, it is very important to ensure that you do not exert too much force when brushing your teeth and to use a toothbrush with soft bristles to avoid weakening the tissue and favouring the appearance of some mouth diseases.
Moreover, you should take the moment that you decide to brush your teeth into account. It is not recommended to brush your teeth after consuming acidic food and beverages, as this could increase the wear of the enamel.
And finally, poor oral hygiene favours the accumulation of bacterial plaque. And in the long run, this can end up destroying the enamel.
2. Avoid citrus foods
Acidic substances are not a good ally if you want to avoid tooth sensitivity because these foods generate a low oral pH which contributes to the erosion of the enamel.
So now you know, you should reduce your consumption of citrus foods, jam, yogurt, tea, wine and soft drinks.
3. Be careful with odonatological treatments
Some teeth whitening treatments use procedures and substances that can cause a temporary tooth sensitivity, and therefore you should take special care and use oral hygiene products to treat any discomfort that may appear.