Article originally published at yournewteethnow.com
A lot of us have been there before.
You grab a drink from the fridge on your way out the door, take a quick sip, and BAM! The pain stops you in your tracks.
Sensitive teeth may sound like a minor issue to some, but that just means they probably haven’t had to live with it.
If you suffer from sensitive teeth, you know what it’s like to live in fear all the time. You’re not sure when you’ll be hit next with that sudden, sharp pain and don’t take anything you put in your mouth for granted.
So, what’s the deal?
Is your mouth cavity-ridden? Has bacteria ravaged your gums? Have you let the state of your oral health get so bad that you’re doomed to live an ice creamless existence forever?
Let’s look at what’s actually causing that pain, then talk about how to finally make it stop.
What’s causing the pain?
The sensitivity and pain usually come on when dentin, a porous tissue under your enamel, becomes exposed.
Dentin has microscopic channels, called tubules, which are pathways straight to the nerve. When dentinal tubules are exposed, your nerves are more easily triggered by stimuli like hot or cold temperatures – causing that shooting pain you’re all too familiar with.
Ways you could be bringing it on
1. Aggressive Brushing
If you constantly wonder why your toothbrush looks like a frazzled mess next to your partner’s, you may be brushing too hard.
Overzealous brushing can wear down your enamel and potentially lead to gum recession. When your gums recede, the softer parts of your tooth that feel that pain and sensitivity are exposed.
Get a soft bristled toothbrush and take it easy on those sensitive little guys.
2. Lacking Routine Oral Care
Brushing and flossing twice daily are key to maintaining a healthy mouth.
If you’re neglecting cleanings, you may be leaving your teeth and gums vulnerable to decay and gum disease.
If you already have sensitive teeth, it may hurt at first, but you gotta get in there and give those teeth a good cleaning twice a day.
3. Teeth grinding
This can be a tricky one because some do this without even realizing it – or even awake!
Teeth grinding wears away at enamel, exposing those dentinal tubules that lead straight to your nerves endings.
If you grind your teeth when you’re awake, try decreasing your caffeine intake and take some time to de-stress. If you’re a night grinder, your dentist can recommend a mouth guard to protect your teeth from themselves.
4. A diet with too much sugar or too much acid
If you acid intake is too high, it starts stripping away tooth enamel. Common culprits are citrus fruits, tomatoes, orange juice, coffee, sodas, and wine. Unfortunately, if you’re overdoing it with any of these, your enamel can’t effectively do its job.
Too much sugar prompts bacteria to grow, which breaks down tooth structure. Tooth decay can cause serious tooth pain, so if ice cream, cakes, and cookies are an everyday go-to, it’s time to reassess your diet.
How to finally make it stop
Visit your dentist. Your dentist is the only one who can get in there and truly diagnose your problem.
It could be a quick fix like a mouth guard or medicated strips to help strengthen your enamel – or it could be a more serious problem that will only get worse if you don’t address it.
The good news is, your dentist will know what to do and you don’t have to live with this forever.