What is tooth sensitivity?
Did you ever encounter any pain or discomfort while having a bite of your favourite ice cream or a sip on that delicious frothy cappuccino? If yes, then you are not alone on that list. Discomfort caused by cold or hot food may also be a sign of dental cavity but it’s also a predominant sign of tooth sensitivity.
Tooth sensitivity is also medically referred to as “dentin hypersensitivity”. As a result of certain stimuli, such as hot or cold temperatures, some people experience tooth pain or discomfort. Tooth sensitivity may be temporary or chronic. It may affect one tooth, several teeth, or all of the teeth of a person. Sensitive teeth may be caused by several reasons.
Causes of tooth sensitivity
- Extreme hot or cold exposure- The cause of tooth sensitivity is mainly due to worn tooth enamel or exposed nerves in your teeth which is why a sharp flash of pain is felt while eating or drinking something cold or hot.
- Gum recession- Gums are pink coloured tissues that cover bone and surround the roots of the teeth that eventually protect the nerve endings. But gum tissue begins to wear with the increase of age which leads to gum recession as a result of which the roots of teeth become exposed being vulnerable to tooth sensitivity and other tooth infections.
- Enamel erosion or dentin erosion- Nowadays, research states that most of the population is suffering from one or another form of “dentin hypersensitivity” which causes them discomfort while eating or drinking. Eating a highly acidic diet, brushing teeth too hard, etc., are some of the common causes of tooth sensitivity.
Due to these factors, the enamel of the teeth that protects it, begins to wear away and it is irreplaceable. This leads to sharp, stabbing pain that shivers up your spine when your teeth come in contact with certain foods.
- Tooth decay or cavity- Tooth decay which is also known as a cavity can be the reason behind tooth sensitivity. Tooth decay can linger on the sides or tops of the tooth enamel without being noticed for some time, but once the decay aggravates and infects the tooth, you may start experiencing pain or sensitivity in your tooth.
- Gum infection- Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, are more common in adults over the age of thirty. Gum disease is called gingivitis in its early stages, and some people don’t even know that they have it. Sensitive teeth and gums can be a sign of escalating gum disease.
- Crown or cracked tooth- A cracked tooth or a crown can also be a predominant cause of tooth pain or sensitivity. There are cases where you can hardly able to find a tooth crack but it causes tooth pain and sensitivity by being invisible to you.
- Sinus Infection– A common symptom of a sinus infection is pain in your teeth and your jaw area. As your sinuses become inflamed and filled with pressure from the infection, they can squeeze the nerve endings of your teeth which leads to sharp pain in your teeth.
- Grinding or clenching jaws- Grinding your teeth and clenching your jaws can lead to chronic tooth sensitivity, as you wear away at the enamel on your teeth. While many individuals clench or grind their teeth from time to time, extreme stress or insufficient sleep can lead to you increasing this habit without you realising it, resulting in tooth pain that seems mysterious.
- Dental procedures- Recent fillings or dental work involving drilling can temporarily make the nerve endings of your teeth more sensitive. Sensitivity due to a tooth filling procedure can last up to two weeks.
- Teeth bleaching products- People using whitening strips, bleaching gels, or having an in-office teeth-whitening procedure are more prone to tooth sensitivity. Although pain in your teeth that’s caused by teeth bleaching is often temporary and will usually subside if you discontinue using whitening products.
Some Remedies To Keep Tooth Sensitivity At Bay
If your tooth turns out to be sensitive, at that point you should to be extra cautious and need to arrest the deteriorating condition of the sensitivity. As, in extreme circumstance it’ll be very hard to eat meals even those which aren’t too cold, hot or sweet,
Hence, some remedies for tooth sensitivity including remedy for preventing enamel sensitivity are given below:
- Clove oil as a natural remedy is traditionally used for tooth sensitivity or ache. Scientific research has established the efficacy of clove oil which has properties to reduce tooth sensitivity to a great extent.
- Use of dental products containing fluoride can also help minimise tooth sensitivity besides tooth decay which is the main cause of sensitivity. Most fluoride dental products reduce tooth sensitivity when people use them along with desensitising treatments.
- Use desensitising toothpaste. As it contains compounds that help to shield nerve endings from irritants. It contains potassium nitrate as its most active ingredient, a compound that works as a barrier to the pain signals that travel from a nerve in your tooth to your brain. After using it for a couple of days, you should start to feel great results.
- Dentists also recommend using a soft-bristle toothbrush and low-acid or fluoride mouth-rinses. A soft-bristle toothbrush, as well as low-acid mouth-rinses, prevents the enamel of the teeth from getting affected.
- Make it a routine to rinse your mouth with salt water as it has many benefits. Salt is an effective antiseptic and is used to reduce inflammation and caused by sensitive teeth.
How To Prevent Tooth Sensitivity
For mild to moderate tooth sensitivity, one may get relief by trying some home remedies. However, in case of continuing or severe tooth sensitivity and pain, one should see a dentist for an examination. The dentist may recommend the following depending on the cause and severity of the sensitivity:
- a filling
- a crown
- an inlay or onlay
- a surgical gum graft
- a root canal
Home remedies are just an interim relief from your chronic pain symptoms. However, a few things can be maintained in order to prevent any further damage to your teeth. Some of those methods are jotted down as follows:
- Maintaining proper oral hygiene is necessary to keep teeth and mouth clean.
- A soft-bristled brush should be used to prevent irritation and abrasions
- One should limit consuming acidic foods and beverages to prevent dissolving tooth enamel
- A regular dental visit is beneficial to detect hidden oral problems.
- a mouth-guard should be used at night if you grind your teeth
- Brush teeth twice daily with a toothpaste containing fluoride.
- Floss at least once daily
- Avoid frequent whitening of teeth
- Restrict consumption of sugary, starchy, acidic foods and drinks
- Limit consumption of alcohol
- Quit smoking if a smoker
The Bottom Line:
Tooth sensitivity is usually experienced due to gradual erosion of the tooth enamel. Research suggests that some home remedies can help treat moderate sensitivity.
However maintaining a good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent tooth decay, gum diseases that result in the development of tooth sensitivity.