There is nothing like a cold ice cream cone on a hot day, or a nice cup of coffee on a cold fall morning. We like to maintain our body’s temperature with foods, but what happens when hot or cold temperatures leave your teeth feeling sore? No one wants to go through their life eating lukewarm food all the time! Sensitive teeth can be a pain, but there are plenty of options available to manage them.
Why Your Teeth Hurt
Sensitive teeth occur due to exposure of the dentin that lies underneath the enamel of your teeth. Dentin is composed of little tubes that lead to the pulp, which is the nerve center of your tooth. Once the dentin is exposed, any little fluctuation of temperature can shoot straight to the nerve endings of your tooth and leave you in pain. The dentin can be exposed for several reasons.
- Using a hard bristled brush.
- Tooth decay near the gum line.
- Gum disease.
- Teeth grinding.
- Damage (chipped or broken teeth).
- Excessive at-home tooth whitening.
- Consuming too many acidic foods.
What You Can Do about It
The best thing you can do to fight sensitive teeth is to make sure you are following proper oral hygiene. You want to ensure that you are brushing and using mouth wash at least twice per day and flossing at least once a day. It is also best to avoid abrasive tooth brushes or toothpastes as tooth erosion and tooth sensitivity go hand-in-hand. Fluoridated dental products can help with tooth sensitivity. Watching your diet is also important. Obviously you will want to avoid highly acidic foods, as they will cause more damage to your enamel.
There are also some other methods of treatment on the horizon. Researchers have recently developed a durable paste that covers the tubes leading to the pulp of the tooth using two elements found in tooth enamel: calcium and phosphorus.
If you find that you are still dealing with highly sensitive teeth, then you may want to consider consulting a dentist, as you may need dental crowns to help fully cover and protect the sensitive pulp. Or, your sensitivity may be a symptom of a more serious dental problem.