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Sensitive Teeth

You must have come across many advertisements on the television regarding toothpastes for teeth sensitivity.

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This makes you wonder what sensitive teeth are and is this same condition you are suffering from? It is quite possible you too may be suffering from this condition, as sensitive teeth are very common complains; dentists around the world come across. Let us understand more about teeth sensitivity through this article.

Are My Teeth Sensitive?

Do you feel a sharp pain in your teeth the minute a sip of hot tea or a cold drink hits your teeth? Is daily brushing an uncomfortable task for you? Does eating sour or sweet foods and drinks make you wince in pain? If yes, then you probably have sensitive teeth.

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Sensitive teeth are a result of thinning tooth enamel. Our teeth are covered with a protective layer of enamel. Due to the daily wear, teeth cavities and other dental problems, the enamel starts to wear off. This leaves dentin, the underlying layer of teeth exposed. The gum tissues start receding and the tiny dentin tubes within the teeth get exposed near the roots. These tubes lead their way towards the tooth pulp, that is, nerve center. As these hollow tubes now lay open, the different sensations such as hot, cold, sour, sweet, etc. reach the nerves. The nerves receive the stimuli and react, causing you to feel pain.

What Are the Symptoms of Sensitive Teeth?

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When there are changes in temperature due to eating or drinking cold and hot foods, teeth suffer from sensitivity. If one experiences only one tooth suffering from sensitivity, it indicates the nerves of this tooth are on the verge of death. Thus, one should seek medical help and may have to undergo a root canal procedure. Sudden pain in teeth due to eating, drinking or even touching of tongue on the affected teeth is the most common symptom of sensitive teeth.

What Makes My Teeth Sensitive?

There are various causes of sensitive teeth. Thus, making this one of the most common dental complaints. The various reasons for sensitive teeth are as follows:

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Improper Brushing Habits

Brushing with a really hard tooth brush, or vigorous brushing can cause the enamel to wear down or the gum line to recede. This causes irritation and sensitivity of the teeth.

Unhygienic Dental Habits

It is very important to brush teeth and keep them clean. If one fails to do so, it will lead to tartar build up. Thus, causing the gum line to decay and recede, exposing the dental pulp.

Chipped or Cracked Teeth

When the tooth is cracked or chipped, it allows bacteria to enter the tiny spaces and causes infection. This leads to inflammation of the tooth pulp as well as plaque. Thus, causing one to experience pain due to sensitivity.

Untreated Cavities

Cavities lead to bacterial infection as well as expose the dentin tubes leading to the nerve center. Thus, it is important to fill these cavities as soon as possible to avoid teeth sensitivity.


Grinding of teeth, especially during sleep causes the enamel to wear off. This is one of the most common reasons that lead to teeth sensitivity.

Excessive Use of Teeth Bleaches and Whitening Agents

Those who frequently indulge in use of baking soda or other whitening agents can suffer from sensitivity. Also, certain mouthwashes contain ingredients that wash off the thin enamel covering the teeth. Thus, leading to sensitive teeth.

These are some of the common causes of sensitive teeth. Those who consume tea, citrus fruits and other highly acidic foods and drinks regularly suffer from sensitive teeth. However, one should not be disappointed as there are many methods to treat as well as further prevent the occurrence of sensitive teeth.

How Can I Treat Sensitive Teeth?

Sensitive teeth can be treated by various methods. Today, many desensitizing toothpastes are available in the market. These toothpastes help in blocking the open tubes and thus, preventing the nerves from getting affected by the external stimuli. This reduces sensitivity to a great extent. You can even use high fluoride mouth rinses that help in reducing the sensitivity of the teeth.

Those suffering from dental caries, cracked tooth, plaque, tartar, etc. should get themselves treated by a dentist. At times, root canal or gum tissue grafting is required to reduce sensitivity.

Can I Prevent Sensitive Teeth?

Teeth sensitivity can be greatly reduced and prevented if one follows a simple regime. One should use a soft or medium toothbrush that does not wear off the enamel. One should always brush with strokes up and down, rather than brushing sideways. Use desentizing toothpaste and mouthwash that helps cover up the open dentine tubes. Those who have a habit of grinding teeth (bruxism) should use a mouth guard and seek treatment for this sleep disorder.

Teeth sensitivity is a common occurrence and may last for a few weeks. However, if the pain continues and even cold air touching your teeth makes you cry out in pain, it is time to meet a dentist.

Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: January 05, 2015

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