Sensitive teeth is a condition where one or more of your teeth feel extreme pain when you eat hot or cold or sweet or sour foods or when you breathe in cold air. A sharp pain can occur all of a sudden by zooming in on the nerve endings in the teeth. This guide explains the causes of sensitive teeth:
What is the sensitive teeth condition all about?
When gum tissue recedes, it exposes the dentin (which is the lower layer of your teeth). The exposed area is not covered by tooth enamel. It contains tubules which lead to the pulp (the nerve center). The tubules cannot stop the food or air from interacting with the tooth’s nerves and this is what cause the pain.
Causes of sensitive teeth
1. Tooth decay (near the gums, close to the dentin)
2. Plaque on the roots can also contribute to tooth nerve pain.
3. Gum disease, also known as gingivitis, causes gum inflammation and exposes the tooth’s root surface and causes sensitive gums.
4. Chipped teeth often play host to bacteria, which then enter the pulp leading to inflammation, disease and tooth sensitivity.
5. Tooth whiteners and toothpaste which contains baking soda are known as major causes of teeth sensitivity.
6. Brushing hard for a long period of time weakens the enamel and exposes the dentin. It can also make the gums recede.
7. Grinding and gritting teeth, over time, also wears down the enamel and exposes the dentin.
8. Gum disease.
9. People between 25 and 30 years old are more prone to the condition. So, age too can be a cause.
10. Prolonged use of mouthwash can cause the condition because mouthwash contains acids. (Instead of using mouthwash, use a neutral fluoride solution – ask your dentist about it though).
11. Acidic foods such as fast food, coffee, citrus fruits, sour foods, pickles can work by eroding the enamel and exposing the dentin.
12. Finally, sensitive teeth can also be caused by dental procedures. However, when caused by dental procedures the sensitive teeth condition is temporary and can last up to four weeks.
Sensitive teeth is a painful condition and you must visit your dentist when you realise you have the condition. The way to get rid of it and usher in tooth relief is by maintaining a good oral hygiene program, following a diet that is (almost) free of acidic food, using the right tooth products (regular tooth paste or Sensitive toothpaste made by Colgate, for example), not grinding teeth, and seeing your dentist regularly.