Do you experience pain or discomfort in your teeth every time you eat something too hot or too cold? It's easy to just get into the habit of avoiding hot or cold foods and beverages. But the truth is, tooth sensitivity is usually treatable – once you figure out the cause. Here's a look at the common causes of tooth sensitivity and what you can do to address them.
Has it been a while since you've been to the dentist? Your tooth sensitivity may be a sign that you have a cavity. Cavities usually have to be quite large before they start making a tooth sensitive, so it's wise to see a dentist sooner rather than later. Your sensitivity should clear up once you have the tooth filled.
On the other hand, if you've been to a dentist in the last few months and were told your teeth are cavity-free, one of the other items on this list is more likely to blame.
Soft or Worn Enamel
Weak, soft or worn tooth enamel can also lead to sensitivity. There's just not enough there to protect the nerve endings in your teeth from detecting the heat or cold! If you drink a lot of acidic beverages, like coffee and soda, these may be weakening your enamel. Try switching to water or tea. Enamel can also be weakened by brushing with too hard with a toothbrush. One that's labeled "soft" (and is approved by the ADA) will work just fine – switching should lead to reduced sensitivity over time.
If you think weak enamel may be to blame for your tooth sensitivity, you can also start using a sensitivity toothpaste. These toothpastes are designed to strengthen enamel and also "fill in" the tubules leading to nerve endings.
Are your gums sore or red? Do they bleed when you brush or floss? These are signs for gum disease, and if you have gum disease, it is likely causing your tooth sensitivity. Gum disease causes the gums to recede, exposing lower portions of your teeth in which the nerves are more sensitive.
You can try treating gum disease at home by using an antiseptic mouthwash twice per day and by kicking your brushing and flossing routine into high gear. But if the symptoms don't clear up within a couple of weeks, you'll need to see your dentist. Left untreated, gum disease will lead to a lot worse than tooth sensitivity – it may lead to lost teeth.
Don't ignore your tooth sensitivity! By identifying and addressing the root cause, you can reduce your sensitivity and get back to enjoying ice cream again.
For additional info, contact a local dentist.