Sensitive teeth can occur when tooth enamel is lost exposing the inner layer of the tooth called the dentine. Dentine can be exposed by gum recession, abrasion by vigorous brushing or acid erosion. Gum recession can be caused by vigorous brushing, or by poor brushing and not removing plaque deposits on teeth, which can lead to gum disease and gum recession.
When the gums recede, the sensitive dentine at the neck of the teeth can be exposed. Acid erosion can be from our everyday diet and softens the enamel of the teeth. This enamel is then susceptible to being worn away by brushing, which over time, can expose the dentine. Acidic foods and drinks include fruits, fruit juices, salad dressings, soft drinks and sports drinks, wine and alcohol.
Dentine is made up of tiny fluid filled canals which stimulate the nerves in the teeth. When the dentine comes in contact with triggers or stimuli, such as cold and hot foods and drinks, sweet foods, acidic foods and drinks, cold air and abrasion from brushing teeth; fluid within these canals moves rapidly, stimulating nerve endings and causing short, sharp pain.
- Good oral home care including twice daily careful brushing with a soft bristled toothbrush and daily flossing
- We recommend brushing with an electric toothbrush with a small, soft round head. An electric toothbrush uses the correct technique to prevent over brushing or scrubbing the teeth too hard which can wear the enamel
- Regular dental visits to remove the tartar that builds up on your teeth and causes gum disease and recession
- Avoid sugary and acidic foods and drinks between meals which can dissolve the enamel on your teeth, especially in between meals and before bed
- Use a toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth eg. Sensodyne, Colgate Sensitive, Colgate Pro Relief. These toothpastes have active ingredients that work by depositing a barrier that blocks the exposed canals and preventing the flow of the fluid within the canals that would otherwise cause pain.
Cosmetic Dental team at Lane Ends Dental Practice can help you understand why you have sensitive teeth and how to manage your discomfort.