Causes of Tooth Sensitivity and Means of Relief

tooth sensitivity

Biting into an ice cold frozen fruit bar, sipping a hot cup of tea . . . if the thought of doing either leaves you cringing, you probably have sensitive teeth. Tooth sensitivity can interfere with your everyday life. Find out what causes such sensitivity and what you can do to manage it.

Tooth Sensitivity Causes

A healthy tooth contains nerves in the pulp, or soft core tissue. The hard layers covering the pulp dull sensations, otherwise every bite would be excruciating. When the outermost enamel deteriorates, the middle layer—the dentin—is uncovered. Dentin contains tubules that lead to the nerves. The exposed nerves cause tooth pain.

Dentin or pulp may become exposed because of cavities, chips and cracks, lost fillings, teeth grinding, or receding gums. Only a dentist can determine the exact cause of your sensitivity.

Relief for Sensitive Teeth

Once your dentist has ruled out any major problems, there are several things you can do at home to minimize tooth sensitivity:

  • Use desensitizing products. Special toothpastes and rinses are readily available at any pharmacy.
  • Clean your teeth the right way. Plaque buildup increases tooth discomfort by irritating nerve endings and contributing to further decay. Brush two to three times a day, but be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a gentle touch.
  • Stop unnecessary wear on your teeth. If you grind your teeth or use them to crush ice, chew hard candies or smokeless tobacco, you should do everything you can to break these habits.

Be sure to consult your dentist about your tooth sensitivity before treating it yourself at home.

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