Have you ever felt pain or discomfort after a bite of ice cream or a sip of hot coffee? If so, you’re not alone. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, roughly 40 million adults suffer from sensitive teeth in the United States. Tooth sensitivity is a common dental problem that involves having discomfort or pain in teeth when brushing, eating or drinking certain substances and temperatures. The pain may be a temporary or chronic problem, and it can affect one tooth or several teeth.
Common Triggers of Sensitive Teeth
People with sensitive teeth may experience pain or discomfort when exposed to certain triggers. The pain can come and go over time and can range from mild to severe. The most common triggers include:
- Hot or cold foods and beverages
- Breathing cold air
- Sweet foods and beverages
- Foods and beverages that are highly acidic
- Brushing or flossing teeth
- Alcohol-based mouth rinses
- Tooth grinding
Causes of Sensitive Teeth
Sensitive teeth are usually the result of worn tooth enamel or exposed tooth roots. The enamel is the outer layer of the tooth that protects it. Sometimes, however, tooth discomfort can be caused by :
- Brushing too hard
- Using a toothbrush with hard bristles
- Tooth grinding at night
- Regularly consuming highly acidic foods and beverages
- Conditions like Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
- Gum recession
- Tooth decay, broken teeth, chipped teeth and worn-down fillings
- Recent dental work
Ways to Ease Sensitive Tooth Pain
First, you should determine whether the pain is truly due to tooth sensitivity, or something else entirely. A trip to the dentist will let you know for sure. If tooth sensitivity is ultimately the problem, there are plenty of things you can do to help reduce and manage it. Here are a few helpful ways to minimize your tooth sensitivity by making these changes:
Limit intake of acidic foods and beverages, such as citrus fruits and sodas.
Switch to an extra soft-bristled toothbrush and apply less pressure when brushing.
Look for an alcohol-free mouthwash or ask your dentist for a more neutral rinse.
Try a toothpaste made for specifically sensitive teeth and see which option works best for you.
Use a bite guard at night if you have a habit of grinding your teeth.
Brush and floss regularly to keep enamel-eroding plaque at bay.
Switch to an electric toothbrush, which can be gentler on your gums.
Keep up with your regular visits to the dentist, so they can detect any changes early.
If you’ve changed your habits but are still experiencing tooth sensitivity and discomfort, please let us know. You can call Jr Dental at (904) 786-5850 or request an appointment online.