Many of us say we have “sensitive teeth.” We usually mean that we feel twinges of pain or discomfort in our teeth in certain situations. These may include:

  • Drinking or eating cold things
  • Drinking or eating hot things
  • Eating sweets
  • Touching the teeth with other teeth or the tongue

Causes

  • Brushing your teeth too hard. This can wear away the enamel layer.
  • Poor oral hygiene. This may allow tartar to build up at the gum line.
  • Long-term tooth wear
  • Untreated cavities
  • An old filling with a crack or leak
  • Receding gums that expose the tooth’s roots. Receding gums often are caused by periodontal diseases or by brushing too hard.
  • Gum surgery that exposes a tooth’s roots
  • Tooth whitening in people who have tooth roots that already are exposed
  • Frequently eating acidic foods or drinking acidic liquids

Prevention

  • You might be able to reduce your chances of dentinal sensitivity by:
  • Brushing twice a day and flossing daily
  • Using a soft or ultra soft toothbrush and brushing gently up and down, rather than side to side
  • Using a fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse
  • Using a toothpaste that provides protection against sensitivity
  • Getting treatment for grinding or clenching your teeth (bruxism)

 

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