The chance of suffering tooth sensitivity often increases as people age and is highest between 25-30. For those who take great care of their oral health, don’t have decay and visit the dentist regularly, tooth sensitivity isn’t usually a concern. However, if tooth sensitivity appears suddenly in an otherwise healthy mouth, it can be a sign of oral health issues.
Causes of sensitive teeth
There are many oral health issues that can lead to tooth sensitivity and the only way to know the true cause is by visiting the dentist. Reasons for sudden tooth sensitivity include:
- Tooth Decay – Tooth decay near the gum line can cause sensitivity, and since it’s not as easy to spot as decay on the top of the tooth, patients may not even know they have a cavity. A cavity at the gum line can create small holes near the gums that can increase sensitivity.
- Gingivitis – Inflamed or sore gums caused by developing gingivitis can cause sensitivity as the loss of supporting ligaments exposes the tooth root. Advanced gingivitis, called periodontal disease, can cause the gums to recede and expose more of the tooth root.
- Bruxism – Teeth grinding, or bruxism, can create sudden tooth sensitivity because the continued clenching and grinding of teeth during sleep wears down enamel and exposes the delicate dentin.
Other issues that can cause sudden tooth sensitivity include a broken or cracked tooth, loose filling or crown that no longer fits properly. When a person experiences any sudden sensitivity or pain, it’s vital that they contact their dentist immediately to prevent further damage.
Mouthwash and sensitivity
Certain over the counter mouthwashes can lead to sensitivity after long-term use because they contain acids that compound sensitivity from exposed dentin. The acid in the mouthwash can damage the dentin further and increase sensitivity. A dentist can suggest a better mouthwash or natural fluoride solution to reduce sensitivity.
Food and sensitivity
Patients who consume a high amount of foods with high acid content such as citrus fruits and juices can eventually find themselves dealing with unexpected tooth sensitivity. Foods with high acid content wear away at tooth enamel, exposing the sensitive dentin.
Treating sensitive teeth
Although it can be tempting to avoid brushing for those with sensitive teeth, it’s important to continue practicing great oral health including brushing twice daily and flossing at least once a day. Choosing a soft bristle brush, brushing gently and using desensitizing toothpaste recommended by the dentist can help lessen teeth sensitivity. If there are additional underlying oral health issues causing the sensitivity, the dentist needs to treat those to ensure they don’t develop into something more severe.
If you find yourself with sudden or ongoing tooth sensitivity, contact Chianese Dental to set up an appointment for a prompt dental exam that can rule out or find any dental issues causing the discomfort.