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6 Causes of Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth are a pain! Here’s a list of 7 things that might be causing (or worsening) your sensitive teeth:

1. Acidic Foods Can Erode Enamel

Acids are hard on your teeth. Some foods are high in acid content–things like tomatoes, citrus, fruit juices (including lemonade), wine, sports drinks,  and carbonated soft drinks (including diet drinks).  Foods and drinks that are high in acid content can erode the protective enamel on your teeth. Here’s a list of showing the acidity of common foods and drinks. Dairy products can help neutralize those acids. So have a small glass of milk or a bite of cheese after consuming acidic food or drinks.

2. Tooth Whiteners and Whitening Toothpaste

Don’t over do it with the whitening products. It’s very common for people to use whitening toothpastes and teeth whiteners too often.  Peroxide-based whiteners can cause teeth to become very sensitive. Fortunately, that sensitivity usually goes away when you stop using those over-the-counter whiteners for awhile. The best and most effective way to get the bright smile you want is to see your dentist for professional whitening.

3. Receding Gums Expose Sensitive Roots

The roots of your teeth are supposed to be hidden and protected by gum tissue. Periodontal disease often causes the gums to pull away (or recede) from the teeth. The result? Sensitive roots of the teeth become exposed. If you have receding gums, you should see your dentist as soon as possible because the condition will continue to worsen unless it is treated properly.

4. Brushing Too Hard

There’s a big difference between brushing thoroughly and brushing hard. The bristles of tooth brushes are designed to gently brush away plaque and food particles. Brushing harder by applying more force (or using a hard- bristled tooth brush) does not clean your teeth better. In fact, it can cause gums to recede and wear down protective tooth enamel. Receding gums and/or worn down enamel will cause teeth to become sensitive. Always use a  “soft” bristle tooth brush. Ask your dentist to recommend a tooth brush and to show you how to brush properly.

5. Cracked Teeth

Cracked teeth are very common. Cracks may be so small you can’t see them. Or they can be severe. Eating ice or hard candy is a typical cause of cracked teeth. Cracked teeth can lead to serious problems, because the cracks can fill with bacteria which causes painful inflammation and sensitivity. SImply chewing food can cause the cracked pieces of a tooth to rub together and irritate the nerves inside the tooth. See your dentist for repair of cracked teeth.

6. Tooth Decay

We all know about cavities. They are caused when the tooth decays. Cavities may not be painful at first. However, the decay, if not treated by a dentist, will eventually expose the root of the tooth. An exposed tooth root is very sensitive to hot and cold food and drinks. See your dentist as soon as possible if you see or suspect tooth decay.

The simple fact is, your teeth are not supposed to be overly-sensitive. If you are suffering from sensitive teeth, see your dentist. The solution may be easier than you think.

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Jeanne Taylor, D.D.S.