When you have sensitive teeth, eating and drinking foods and beverages you once enjoyed becomes a challenge. A sip of coffee can mean a stinging sensation and a lick of an ice cream cone can translate to sharp pain. While not all instances of tooth sensitivity can be avoided, there are a few external factors that can contribute to, or cause it. If your teeth feel sensitive of late, take a look at some of your habits to see if they might be behind it.
Eating Acidic Foods
Tomatoes and citrus fruits might be good for your overall health, but they can have a negative effect on your teeth. These foods, and others, such as soda and fruit juice, are high in acids that can lead to enamel erosion.
The good news is that you don’t have to give up tomatoes and other acidic foods if you’re a big fan of them. There are ways to counteract the acidity of these foods during and after you eat. For example, eating a piece of cheese can help neutralize the acids. Rinsing your mouth with water while you eat and afterwards rinses the acids off of your teeth, protecting your enamel.
It’s not only acidic food and drink that can increase tooth sensitivity. Using mouthwashes that are fairly acidic can also wear away your enamel, worsening sensitivity. If you are concerned that your mouthwash is contributing to the problem, you can speak with your dentist about other options.
Uneven Dental Care
How you care for your teeth and gums can also play a part when it comes to how sensitive your teeth are. For example, although brushing immediately after eating can seem like a good idea, it can actually damage your teeth, especially if you brush right after eating foods that are high in acid. Brushing right away helps push the acids into the enamel, weakening teeth.
The amount of force you use when brushing can also influence your teeth’s sensitivity. Using a lot of force or trying to scrub your teeth clean can harm the enamel and cause it to wear away. Excessive force can also contribute to recession of the gums. Finally, not being so good about brushing your teeth can also contribute to sensitivity, as tooth decay weakens the enamel.
Your Toothpaste and Other Dental Products
Although you don’t want to stop brushing your teeth, it’s worth knowing that some toothpastes are better than others when it comes to sensitivity. Very abrasive toothpastes, such as those that are designed to whiten by scrubbing away surface stains, can end up wearing away the enamel.
The same is true of some dental procedures, such as teething whitening, either in a dentist’s office or using an at-home product. The good news is that usually the sensitivity fades after you stop getting your teeth whitened or switch toothpastes. If you’re particularly concerned about sensitivity and still want to whiten your teeth, you can discuss the various options with a dentist.
Receding gums, whether from gum disease or vigorous brushing, can cause your teeth to be sensitive, as the receding gums leave the root of your tooth exposed. There are a few ways to cope if you have gingival recession. First, if it is a result of using a lot of force when you brush, you’ll need to re-learn how to brush your teeth, using less pressure and force.
If the receding gums are a result of gum disease, a periodontist can recommend a variety of treatments, such as traditional gum grafting, which restores lost gum tissue, or newer treatment options, such the Pinhole technique, which gently glides the gum tissue back into position.
Grinding Your Teeth
If you regularly clench or grind your teeth, your enamel is likely to wear away, leading to sensitivity. Grinding your teeth can also cause cracks to form in your teeth, making sensitivity worse. There are a few ways to treat bruxism, such as wearing a mouth guard or learning relaxation techniques. Your dentist might also advise you to treat any issues that have developed as a result of your teeth grinding, such as receding gums, chipped or cracked teeth, and sensitive teeth.
Working with a dentist can help you track down the cause of your sensitive teeth and come up with ways to treat it. In the Miami area, periodontists Dr. John Paul Gallardo and Dr. William Lamas, and oral surgeon Dr. Jose Arroyo can repair or replace damaged teeth and help reduce sensitivity. For a consultation, call (305) 447-1447 today.