Why Are My Teeth Sensitive? Here are Three Possible Causes

Tooth sensitivity is nearly ubiquitous as almost everyone experiences some degree of sensitivity every now and then. Whether it’s a jolt of pain when eating ice cream or tingling when eating sweets, sensitivity comes in many different variations and can have different causes. For some people, tooth sensitivity is an everyday issue that can affect the way they eat, drink, and even brush their teeth. Regardless of the severity, there are ways to treat and improve tooth sensitivity. First, it is important to know what makes teeth sensitive in the first place. Here are 3 common culprits.

Loss of Tooth Enamel

Enamel is one of the strongest substances in the human body. It is the outer layer of tooth responsible for protecting them from stimulants and other harmful pathogens. Enamel also provides teeth the strength they need to chew food efficiently. But when enamel is lost, the symptoms can range from mild to severe. As enamel wears away, the tooth becomes more permeable, allowing things like cold, hot, and sweets to penetrate the tooth and cause painful sensations. Loss of enamel can occur due to diet (soft drinks, acidic foods), over brushing, gastric reflux, and more.

Periodontal Disease

Gum disease results in the loss of gingiva, commonly called gum recession. When the gums recede, the part of the tooth that is subsequently exposed to the environment is far more porous than enamel. This, in turn, leads to increased sensitivity, particularly to hot and cold extremes.

Regardless of the cause of your tooth sensitivity, there are treatments that can help. Whether it is a change of habits, prescription toothpastes, or fluoride treatments, there is hope for those seeking relief from tooth sensitivity. Talk to your dentist about which treatment may be right for you.

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Melina has written for several journals and is a non practicing dentist.

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