Have you ever had something to eat or drink and experienced pain? Does the thought of eating ice cream send shivers down your spine? If the answer is yes, you may have sensitive teeth. Here's your guide to understanding sensitivity and how to manage it.
What Causes Sensitivity?
Sensitivity can be caused by several things, such as worn enamel, dental decay, broken teeth, leaking fillings and temporarily after tooth whitening.
One of the most common reasons for sensitivity is through erosion. This is the irreversible and permanent wearing away of enamel – the hard outer layer or the tooth.
All food and drinks affect the natural pH level in the mouth, which can cause acid attacks and enamel erosion. This is especially true of fruit juice, alcohol and fizzy drinks, so it's best to consume these sparingly.
Symptoms of Sensitive Teeth
You may experience a sudden short, sharp pain or twinge when you have something hot or cold. You may also notice discomfort when you eat something sweet or bite down hard.
Teeth may feel sensitive after drinking alcohol or when you brush.
Usually the pain goes away, but if it is persistent it could mean something more serious.
Tips to Prevent Sensitive Teeth
To prevent erosion, reduce the frequency of sugar and acid in your diet. Try to eat sugary or acidic drinks at meal times only and try not to have more than 3-4 sugar or acid attacks per day.
Use a straw (avoid plastic) for drinks to reduce the amount of contact with teeth.
Use a fluoride toothpaste and spit, don’t rinse, after brushing. You can also use a toothpaste designed to help treat the symptoms of sensitivity.
Avoid brushing immediately after having something acidic as the enamel will be weakened. Wait about an hour after or brush before.
Visit your dentist or hygienist to identify areas of tooth wear and advise against further wear.