Tooth sensitivity

Definition

Dentin hypersensitivity which is also known as tooth sensitivity – affects exposed root surfaces or tooth. Generally, when the enamel that protects our teeth gets thinner, or the occurrence of gum recession leads to exposing of the underlying surface, the dentin results in tooth sensitivity as the enamel that protects the tooth and root reduces. Upto 75% population is affected by tooth sensitivity.

Signs & Symptoms

If cold, hot, sweet or very acidic drinks and foods, or breathing in cold air, makes your teeth or a tooth sensitive or painful then you may have sensitive teeth. Tooth sensitivity can come and go over time.

Cause

There are several causes of tooth sensitivity, including:

Tooth enamel wears out from using a hard toothbrush or brushing too aggressively

Tooth erosion due to foods and beverages that are highly acidic

Tooth erosion due to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or bulimia

Gum recession that leads to your root surface being exposed

Diagnosis

Excellent oral hygiene is the key to preventing your gums from receding and causing sensitive-tooth pain. If you brush your teeth over-brush, or incorrectly, your gums may become sensitive. Ask your dentist if you have any questions related to your daily oral hygiene routine.

Prevention

Twice daily brushing for 2 minutes with toothpaste that does not have high levels of abrasives, and flossing once a day, can really help reduce the chance of tooth sensitivity. Following a diet that is low in acidic foods and drinks also helps prevent tooth sensitivity.

Treatment

Your dentist may recommend an at- home brush on fluoride gel or rinse besides toothpaste without high levels of abrasives, toothpaste with high level of fluoride will make your teeth less sensitive and provide extra protection against decay. Other treatments to look into — such as fluoride varnishes — can be painted onto the teeth that provides added protection.

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