Tooth sensitivity can be uncomfortable and even painful.
Depending on the situation, it might affect just a single tooth, several teeth, or all of your teeth.
The pain and discomfort can be triggered by:
- hot foods and drinks
- cold foods and drinks
- sugary foods and drinks
- acidic foods and drinks
- rough brushing or flossing
- alcohol-based mouthwashes
- recent dental work
- tooth whitening processes
It may be a sign of cavities, tooth decay, broken or chipped teeth, or weakened tooth enamel. Sometimes symptoms can come and go for no apparent reason.
Diet and Tooth Health
Some foods and drinks can contribute to tooth sensitivity by eroding the protective enamel of your teeth.
Sugars and starches can build up on your gum line. The bacteria in your mouth feed on these sugars and produce acid as a waste product. Acid from this bacterial activity can dissolve minerals in your enamel, resulting in tooth sensitivity.
Acidic drinks like soda, energy drinks, alcohol, fruit juices, and sports drinks can also wear away your teeth over time. If you want to protect your teeth, it’s best to avoid these drinks as much as possible.
The acids from your stomach can also travel up your esophagus and damage your teeth. Gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly called acid reflux, happens when the muscle at the top of your stomach is too weak or damaged to close correctly (typically due to an unhealthy diet). This allows the corrosive acids from your stomach to splash up into your throat and into your mouth, causing heartburn and other symptoms.
Eating a healthy diet that limits the amount of acid in your mouth and stomach can help protect your teeth from corrosion and hypersensitivity.
Learning Better Oral Hygiene Routines
Cleaning your teeth – brushing, flossing, and rinsing – at least twice a day, is crucial for removing plaque and protecting your enamel.
The longer that bits of food remain on or between your teeth, the more time the bacteria in your mouth have to thrive and produce more acid. This results in more damage to your teeth and enamel and more sensitivity.
Use toothpaste that is labeled for sensitive teeth. These are free of irritating ingredients and can help block some of the discomforts. Using alcohol-free mouth rinse and softer toothbrushes may also help.
Regular dental checkups and deep cleaning are essential in the fight against tooth erosion and sensitivity.
If you find a tooth is too sensitive, schedule an appointment to visit your dentist. They can look for cavities or other problems that could be causing the pain and provide solutions to help you get better.