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guide to sensitive teeth

Most people suffer from some level of sensitive teeth at some stage or other.  Tooth sensitivity is made apparent when hot and cold food and drinks are consumed. The range of discomfort that people feel varies and sensitivity can be mild lasting for several seconds or more intense lasting for several minutes.

Anyone can suffer from sensitive teeth, but it is more apparent in those aged between twenty and forty.  If you experience sensitive teeth then it may be an early warning sign of some other underlying dental problem.

what causes sensitive teeth?

There are numerous causes of dental sensitivity, and include:

  • Too forceful brushing - There is such a thing as too much brushing, but it is possible to be too forceful or using too hard a brush when brushing your teeth.  This can lead to the enamel wearing away, or recession of the gum line, which can expose the root surface.
  • Cracked tooth - If you have cracked your tooth, by way of an accident or parafunction (grinding of the teeth) this will lead to inflammation of the nerve and sensitive teeth, typically on biting.
  • Tooth erosion - If you eat or drink too many sugary products or those high in acidity, then this can lead to erosion of dental enamel. This will leave the tooth exposed, which can make it sensitive to any contact with hot or cold substances.
  • Teeth grinding - If you grind away at your teeth on a regular basis then this can lead to the enamel of the teeth wearing away, or can lead to cusp fracture in teeth with large fillings.
  • Tooth decay – if there is a cavity in a tooth, as a result of a diet too high in sugar / acidic drinks and foods, sensitivity can result
  • Teeth whitening side-effects - There are some tooth whitening products that have been linked to symptoms of sensitive teeth arising, although this is normally temporary.
  • A visit to the dentist - If you have recently had dental treatment, such as placement of a filling or new crown, then this may lead to temporary sensitivity to the teeth. This will typically fade away within a week or two. If not, then there may be an underlying problem and you should return to your dentist.

how to prevent sensitive teeth

The sensitivity of teeth can easily be prevented, and the following is a guide on how to prevent sensitivity:

  • A fluoride mouthwash may help to improve the state of your tooth enamel.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day with sensitive toothpaste, and make sure that you also floss.
  • Do not brush your teeth with too much aggression or for too long. Also, make sure that you change your toothbrush every 2-3 of months
  • Use an electric / battery operated tooth brush, rather than a manual brush
  • Limit your intake of food and drinks high in sugar and acidity. A straw can help to lessen the exposure of such drinks to the teeth.
  • A mouth guard may be necessary if you grind your teeth on a regular basis. Your dentist can offer advice on such matters.
  • Be careful of your teeth when eating tough food, which can cause cracks in the teeth.


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