Your teeth have four layers. The first is the outer layer, which is the enamel. The second is the inner layer, which is the dentin. The third layer is the pulp, which contains the nerves and blood vessels. And the fourth layer is the cementum, which is a calcified substance that covers the root of the tooth. When these layers are compromised, tooth sensitivity can occur. Many people throughout the country suffer from tooth sensitivity that causes pain, particularly when they eat cold or hot foods, or even when they breathe in cold air. Tooth sensitivity occurs when gums recede, enamel is worn, or when cementum is lost. In these instances, roots and nerves are exposed, and this causes sensitivity and pain. Here is information from top dentists regarding tooth sensitivity, as well as tips on how to prevent it.
Causes of tooth sensitivity
As mentioned above, tooth sensitivity is caused when tooth root and tooth nerves are exposed. Because nerves react to extremes in temperature, such as foods that are too hot or too cold or breathing in cold air, teeth become sensitive, causing pain. Additionally, as enamel is the protective outer layer of teeth, when a tooth’s enamel wears off, too-hold or too-cold foods will cause pain when they come into contact with the tooth. Enamel loss can occur due to acids in the mouth that cause erosion. These acids occur in the mouth when acidic foods and beverages are consumed, especially if these foods are sugary or contain a sugary powder that is sour and acidic. When tooth sensitivity occurs, brushing and flossing can be painful. Unfortunately, this situation often leads to more tooth sensitivity, as brushing and flossing are avoided.
Effects of tooth sensitivity
There are a number of negative effects that can occur due to tooth sensitivity. These include tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth abscesses. Tooth sensitivity often occurs when bacteria build up on the teeth causing excessive plaque, especially when that plaque is not removed with a proper oral hygiene routine. Cavities are tooth decay, and it’s important to know that tooth sensitivity can occur due to cavities. Gum disease occurs when the gums pull away from the teeth. There are two main forms of gum disease. The first is gingivitis, which is a milder, more common form of gum disease. The second is periodontitis, which is more serious and can lead to tooth loss and other complications. Tooth abscesses are infections of the teeth that, if left untreated, can lead to life-threatening conditions and death. All of these dental conditions can lead to tooth sensitivity, especially since they often cause sufferers not to maintain good oral hygiene habits. It’s also important for those who use over-the-counter whitening products to know that these can also lead to tooth sensitivity. Because they typically contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, substances that can cause soft tissue irritation, tooth-whitening products can lead to tooth sensitivity.
Reducing tooth sensitivity
The most important defense against tooth sensitivity is maintaining a proper oral hygiene routine. Regular twice-daily brushing is vital for cleaning bacteria and plaque from teeth that can erode enamel and lead to tooth sensitivity. For individuals who are experiencing exceptional tooth sensitivity, there are desensitizing toothpastes available today that help to lessen sensitivity in order to continue maintaining regular dental hygiene habits. Be sure to select a toothbrush that contains softer bristles, as hard-bristled toothbrushes can wear down tooth enamel and lead to tooth sensitivity. Additionally, flossing at least once a day is important to get rid of food particles that get in between teeth that toothbrushes are unable to remove. Replace your toothbrush at least every 3-4 months, and avoid drinking cold or hot foods until your tooth sensitivity subsides. This may seem obvious, but too often people choose to eat the same foods they love and simply chew on the other side of the mouth. Unfortunately, this practice can still cause too-hot or too-cold foods to creep over to the other side of the mouth and cause pain. Additionally, it’s vital to see your family dentist twice a year in order to have your teeth cleaned properly and to learn of any dental conditions that may be occurring. Finally, avoid sugary and other processed foods that can cause bacteria to build up on teeth and result in loss of tooth enamel.