Sensitive teeth can be frustrating and very painful. In many cases you will have to restrict your diet and avoid chilled drinks a cold foods such as ice cream. Sometimes the sensitivity can be so severe that even cold tap water and normal day to day eating and drinking can be a struggle. Thankfully there are a few options to help deal with sensitivity which we will cover below.
Why do people get sensitive teeth?
Your teeth are a living part of your body, with each tooth having its own blood and nerve supply. It is normal to have some sensitivity to very cold things, such as ice cream, but this shouldn’t prevent you from eating cold things and enjoying cold drinks.
- Decay in a tooth or teeth can give you pain when you eat something sweet or cold. Decay is caused by bacteria attacking a tooth which can damage the protective enamel and allow cold things to penetrate deeper into the tooth. The decay needs to be removed and a filling placed to prevent the problem getting worse.
- A new filling. It is normal to have some sensitivity when you have a new filling placed, and this normally settles over a couple of weeks.
- Grinding your teeth. Even though tooth enamel is one of the hardest parts of your body, when your teeth grind together the enamel can wear away and expose the inner part of your teeth and crack a fillings. A lot of people grind there teeth when they are sleeping and so are not aware of the damage they are doing until they get problems. There is no way to stop you grinding, but we can make a protective splint to wear when you are sleeping.
- A cracked tooth can cause extreme sensitivity as sometimes the crack can lead straight into the nerve centre of the tooth. This can happen if suffer trauma to your teeth such as from a fall or knock. It is also possible for this to occur from grinding over a period of time. It is not always possible to save the tooth when this happens and you may need to have the tooth removed.
- Gum disease can lead to your gums shrinking away from your teeth leaving the roots of your teeth to become exposed. The roots of your teeth can feel very sensitive to cold as they are no longer protected by your gums. It is important to have gum disease treated by a dentist or hygienist to help prevent it getting worse over time.
- Acid in your diet can erode the protective enamel that surrounds your teeth. Unfortunately many drinks contain a lot of acid such as fizzy drinks, alcoholic drinks and orange juice. It is important to consume these drinks in moderation to avoid excessive damage to your teeth. Also it is advisable to wait 30 minutes after drinking an acidic drink before brushing your teeth to allow the acid level in your mouth to decrease. Otherwise there is a risk of damaging
Tips for reducing sensitivity
- Make sure to visit your dentist for regular check ups so that they can help you maintain a healthy mouth. It is important to have dental decay and any gum problems treated.
- Avoid having too many acidic drinks as these can thin down the protective enamel covering your teeth.
- Don’t brush too hard as this can cause a small amount of gum recession and also remove the surface layers from exposed roots. When brushing your teeth you should aim to polish them rather than scrub them.
- Use a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. There are a variety of brands available that work in different ways. The important thing is, when you find one the suits you then keep using otherwise the protective benefits will be lost.