Causes of Sensitive Teeth and How to Combat It.

Does the thought of drinking an ice-cold cup of water or biting into a popsicle make you want to cringe? You're not alone. It's actually a really common problem among adults 20-40 to experience tooth sensitivity.

So, what causes sensitive teeth? And is there a way to experience less sensitivity so you can get back to enjoying your favorite hot & cold treats? Luckily, it may be an easier answer than you thought.

In this article, we're sharing the top 10 causes of tooth sensitivity and some quick, simple tips for fighting back against it. 

1. Acidic Food & Beverages. From juice & soda, to tomato sauce & chocolate, there are quite a few foods in our everyday diet that can lead to destruction of the enamel and this leads to exposure of the nerves of your teeth. Avoiding these types of foods & beverages (or at least cutting back) can really help!

2. Too Much Mouthwash. Are you a self-proclaimed oral health junkie who uses mouthwash religiously? Depending on the mouthwash you're using, you could be doing more harm than good. Shocking, we know. Try this- be sure to check the ingredients of that over-the-counter mouthwash and consider trading it for a more neutral fluoride rinse.

3. Brushing Too Hard. Take it easy. Switching to a softer bristle brush and lightening up on the stroke can help reduce the wear of the enamel that leads to the exposure of your dental nerves.

4. Dental Procedures. If you've recently had a major dental procedure (such as a crown, root canal, or extraction), it's quite normal to experience a little pain or sensitivity for a little while after. If you're symptoms don't die down after a few days, it might be a good idea to contact your dentist.

5. Using the Wrong Whitening Products. There are a LOT of options when it comes to whitening your teeth. Hydrogen Peroxide is the most common ingredient found in whitening products, but there are gentler options to help you get the same results (ahem... like the carbamide peroxide found in Lumist...). Try looking for products that avoid hydrogen peroxide as the main ingredient. Also, remember, just because it's natural doesn't mean it's better. 

6. Gum Disease? A receding gum-line can be a sign of something more serious. Other warning signs include sensitive teeth, swollen gums, bleeding gums, pain from chewing, etc. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it might be time to talk to your dentist. The sooner you address it, the more options you will have. 

7. Plaque. Did you know that too much plaque can start to wear away at your enamel? That's one of the reasons regular cleanings with your dental hygienist and daily oral care are so important. The thinner your enamel, the more likely you are to experience sensitivity. If you're noticing extra build-up, talk to your dentist to see what their recommendation is for maintaining a better clean.

8. Old Fillings. Fillings can be like repairing a leaky tire. If your filling begins to leak or starts to breakdown, this can become problematic as it allows food and beverages to get underneath the tooth. As a result, you may experience tooth sensitivity. 

9. A Crack in Your Tooth. Ouch! This can lead to an exposed nerve. The best course of action here is to talk with your dentist about your options.

10. Grinding Your Teeth. There's a middle layer of your teeth found under the top layer of enamel called dentin. As you grind your teeth, you slowly wear down the enamel exposing the dentin underneath which is directly connected to the nerves of the tooth and is what causes you to experience sensitivity to temperature and pressure. If you're grinding your teeth a lot, talk with your dentist about mouth guard options or see what else they might recommend to help you stop.

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