Understanding Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is a condition characterized by feelings of pain and discomfort in one tooth or more that is usually triggered by heat, cold or sourness in food or drinks. The sharp pain felt usually can come suddenly and felt deeply into the nerve endings of the affected teeth.

Causes Of Sensitive Teeth

There are many things that may cause sensitive teeth. The main reason usually is when the dentin, the underlying layer of the teeth, becomes exposed. This happens when the gum tissue recedes and may expose the roots of the tooth. The roots contain tiny tubules that then allow stimuli to travel into the nerve of the tooth. This results in the pain felt when the roots are exposed to hot, cold, and other stimuli.

Contributing Factors

There are various ways in which the roots of the teeth may be gradually exposed to the elements. Aside from a receding gum line, tooth decay that forms near the gum line can sometimes expose the underlying roots to stimuli that may lead to sensitive teeth. Brushing too hard may also contribute as it can wear down the enamel, the protective coating of the teeth and cause the dentin to become exposed. Vigorous brushing can also cause the gum line to recede.

Other contributing factors that may lead to sensitive teeth include teeth grinding and cracked or broken teeth which can expose the dentin or provide an area for bacteria to grow and affect the roots. Using tooth whitening products may also lead to sensitive teeth since they can gradually thin out the tooth enamel with each use. Gum disease can lead to the loss of supporting ligaments on teeth which then causes its roots to become exposed.

Preventive Measures

Prevention is the best means to avoid having sensitive teeth. One way to do it is by maintaining good oral hygiene using proper brushing and flossing techniques. Watching what you eat may also help since acids in food may also contribute to tooth enamel wear out. There are also desensitizing toothpastes available that may help decrease teeth sensitivity.


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