A Brief Guide To Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth Sensitivity - Sensitive teeth- woman eating ice lolly

We’ve all felt the pain of tooth sensitivity in our lifetime. Whether it be while casually enjoying an impromptu ice cream on the beach, or chewing through popcorn at the local cinema, one in eight of us can experience the frustrating and painful feeling of tooth sensitivity at any given time.

So, what can you do to prevent it? And, how exactly is it caused? Our quick and handy guide will answer each of these questions and more.

1. What is tooth sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity is the reaction of your teeth to a certain stimuli. It’s not the same as a toothache or random pain – the feeling comes about due to a change of environment or circumstances.
This change could be one of a number of things. For most people, changes in temperature cause their teeth to react, whereas for others, touch or biting down on something hard can cause the effect. Some people also tend to be sensitive to foods or drinks that contain too much acid, sugar or salt.

2. What causes tooth sensitivity?

To understand how tooth sensitivity comes about, first a little science lesson. When the enamel on your teeth becomes worn down, usually through brushing too hard or consuming too many acidic or sugary foods, this exposes a second layer known as dentin. Without the enamel to protect it, your tooth now becomes more sensitive to the certain stimuli mentioned above, leading to the pain you feel.

Gum recession, caused as a result of gum disease, can also gradually expose your tooth’s root. Unlike the tooth itself, this doesn’t have any enamel to protect it, so your teeth become much more sensitive in that area and vulnerable to environmental changes.

Whitening your teeth can again increase your susceptibility to tooth sensitivity. This is because the bleaching chemicals that whitening products use can open up the tubules in your teeth, making your teeth more vulnerable to external stimuli. Likewise, genetics can also play a part in making some people more susceptible to tooth sensitivity.

3. How do you treat tooth sensitivity?

As an immediate solution to tooth sensitivity, toothpastes containing fluoride should be the first port of call. They help desensitise the tooth and act as a pseudo-painkiller to help numb the pain.
However, fluoride toothpaste won’t prevent the problem from resurfacing again in the future, so it’s important to visit your dentist in case there are any other ongoing issues that need to be addressed. From brushing incorrectly to eating the wrong foods, dentists can help pinpoint the issue to stop it from happening again. With their help, you’ll be able to eat as many ice creams as you like, without the worry of sensitive teeth ruining your day.

If you’re worried about your tooth sensitivity, contact us for advice.

Read more about our cosmetic dental services.

Author: dentisthorsham
Published on: Last updated: 24th January 2024