Dealing with Tooth Sensitivity

October 24, 2023

If you are one of the millions of Americans who experience tooth sensitivity, you know that it can put a damper on some of your favorite activities. Sensitive teeth can prevent you from enjoying a piping hot bowl of soup, from biting into an ice cream cone, or from sinking your teeth into any sugary treat. Sensitive teeth can be a major pain, but there are some steps you can take to reduce your sensitivity. Here are some tips from the oral care experts at American Dental.

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

In most cases, tooth sensitivity is caused by worn enamel. Once your protective enamel is worn away, the soft, porous dentin underneath is exposed. The microscopic tubules in your dentin create the perfect pathway for materials like sugar to reach the sensitive tooth roots underneath. When your roots come into contact with sugar or hot/cold foods, it can be extremely painful. 

Tooth damage can also create the same conditions. If your tooth is chipped, cracked, or has a cavity, your dentin may be exposed, causing sensitivity. There may also be a genetic component to tooth sensitivity, as some people have sensitive teeth even without cavities, cracks, or worn enamel.

Reducing Tooth Sensitivity

  • Change Your Brushing Habits – Brushing your teeth twice a day is great, but if you are brushing too vigorously, it could be causing your tooth sensitivity. Try brushing more gently, and you should also consider switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush that won’t be so abrasive on your teeth and gums.
  • Change Your Toothpaste – There are many brands of toothpaste on the market today that are effective in reducing tooth sensitivity. If your sensitivity is relatively minor, switching toothpastes could be exactly the solution you need.
  • Get a Fluoride Treatment – In addition to strengthening your tooth enamel, fluoride can also reduce tooth sensitivity. Your dentist can give you a fluoride treatment, or you can try an ADA-approved mouthwash that contains fluoride.
  • Change Your Diet – The food and beverages you consume can play a big role in damaging your tooth enamel. Too much sugar or too much acidic food and drink will erode the tooth enamel and can lead to sensitivity over time. Cutting the amount of sugar and acid in your diet can help to prevent your condition from progressing.
  • Try a Mouthguard at Night – Tooth grinding, also known as bruxism, can wear down enamel and create microscopic cracks in the teeth that contribute to sensitivity. If you are living with bruxism, talk to your dentist about getting a custom-fitted mouthguard to protect your teeth at night and prevent your sensitivity from getting worse.

General Dentistry in Chicago

If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, your dentist can help identify the cause of your issues and put together a treatment plan. If you live in the Chicago area, American Dental is available for all your oral healthcare needs! Call us or schedule an appointment online if you need dental services in River West Chicago or anywhere else in Chicagoland.

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