Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth Sensitivity - Century Smile Dental - Culver City, CA

“When did the tooth sensitivity start, and why is it happening?”

Tooth Sensitivity - Century Smile Dental - Culver City, CA

Sensitive teeth are one of the main reasons an individual decides to visit the dentist aside from a yearly dental exam.

It is understood that 1 in every 8 adults suffers from some form of tooth sensitivity, and roughly 50% of dental patients report some form of tooth affliction.

Tooth sensitivity can cause an immense amount of pain and irritation, resulting in a daily struggle to eat and speak without any pain. The biggest question that is always asked is when did the tooth sensitivity start, and why is it happening?

Sensitive teeth can arise for a number of different reasons. Let’s take a look at those reasons.

Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth Sensitivity - Century Smile Dental - Culver City, CA

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

Receding Gums
Gum Recession - Tooth Sensitivity - Century Smile Dental - Culver City, CA

When your gums begin to recede, it can expose the roots of your teeth, which hold the nerve endings. This exposure can affect the level of sensitivity you feel. The nerve center known as the pulp influences the level of discomfort you feel from cold or hot foods and drinks.

Because the roots are covered by gum tissue, things such as periodontal disease can cause the gum tissue to pull away and recede backward, revealing the tooth roots. Once the roots of your teeth are exposed, they become overly sensitive to the point of ultimate pain and discomfort. It is vital to speak with your dentist when something like this begins to occur.

2. Cavities
Tooth Extraction Culver City, CA

Much like receding gums, cavities often result in tooth root exposure which causes irritation to the teeth when drinking or eating cold and hot items. Cavities also mean that your teeth can become sensitive to sweets and air exposure.

Cavities arise from tooth decay and can be avoided by practicing good oral hygiene, eating less sugary and acidic foods, and regular dental visits.

3. Certain Foods

Acidic foods cause the outermost layer of your teeth to erode away. This top layer is called the enamel, which protects the layer underneath, known as dentin.

Acidic foods cause the dentin to be exposed, which can have negative effects on your dental health. This can cause extreme tooth sensitivity.

Stay away from food like oranges, limes, tomatoes, etc.

Aside from acidic foods, sugary foods and drinks can also cause tooth sensitivity. The sugar will soften your enamel, making it vulnerable to cold, hot, and other sweet foods. It is best to limit sugary foods from your diet and, when possible, brush directly after sugary food consumption.

4. Hard Bristles of Toothbrush
Tooth Sensitivity - Century Smile Dental - Culver City, CA

Another way to wear down your enamel is by brushing with hard bristles on your toothbrush. This can cause abrasion as well as cause your gums to recede, which will expose the roots of your teeth.

When brushing your teeth, always use a soft bristle brush and leave the medium and hard bristles for cleaning off countertops. If your enamel wears down, much like the acidic foods, your dentin will become exposed and cause your teeth to be overly sensitive.

5. Hard impact
Tooth Sensitivity - Century Smile Dental - Culver City, CA

Overuse of your teeth can also cause extreme sensitivity. Activities such as chewing on ice and hard candies can cause lasting negative effects and grinding during the day and at night. These activities can cause cracks in your teeth that may expose the nerve endings in the pulp of your teeth.

This exposure will cause pain and discomfort when eating certain foods and drinks. These cracks may also collect bacteria which will inflame the nerves and cause added pain. Changing your diet and wearing a night guard are great ways to avoid this from happening. 

Tooth sensitivity is a serious problem that can cause many issues in your day-to-day life. If you are experiencing any pain or discomfort when drinking, eating, or talking, then talk to your dentist immediately about treatment plans.

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