Most people face this one time or the other in their lifetime. If you find yourself trying to avoid hot beverages, cold foods or acidic juices, in all likelihood you are suffering from sensitive teeth. Tooth sensitivity or Dentin hypersensitivity can affect exposed root surfaces or the tooth surfaces. Sensitivity occurs when gum recession occurs or the enamel that protects our teeth gets thinner. These factors expose the underlying surface (dentin). Nearly, 57% of the people are affected by tooth sensitivity.

The most common signs of tooth sensitivity are a painful or sensitive sensation when consuming sweet, acidic, cold or hot substances. It can also occur sometimes when breathing in cold air. Generally, tooth sensitivity can come and go over time.

What causes sensitive teeth?

Brushing right after consuming acidic substances can wear out the enamel as during this time the enamel softens and becomes more vulnerable. If you brush your teeth very vigorously it can also cause your gums to recede leading to sensitivity.

Grinding your teeth at night or even during the day can wear down enamel. Some people can also face the same if they clench their teeth. These habits can expose the underlying layer of the tooth.

Receding gums caused by gum disease (gingivitis) can expose the tooth’s dentine. If this gets worse it causes periodontis, which damages the surrounding bone and tissues. Gums can also recede due to vigorous brushing.

How to prevent sensitivity?

  • A good way to prevent this issue is by brushing properly twice a day, for at least 2 minutes.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and avoid brushing sideways. Instead brush with upward and downward strokes.
  • Make sure to use toothpaste without abrasives.
  • Another method to prevent this condition is to floss at least once a day. Reduce your consumption of acidic drinks and food such as red wine, pop, fruit juices, oranges and pickle. Generally dentists prescribe a brush-on fluoride gel or high-fluoride toothpaste which makes your teeth less sensitive. These gels and toothpastes also protect against tooth decay. Never use your teeth to pry open a metal bottle cap or do anything that can damage the protective enamel cover. Lastly, watch out for receding gums due to gum disease or hard brushing and get your dentist to treat it at the earliest. Follow these precautions and hopefully, you will not have to deal with sensitive teeth. In case you do, consult a dentist without delay.

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