Getting to the Root of Your Discomfort: the Origins of Tooth Sensitivity

Getting To The Root Of Your Discomfort

Did you know nearly six in 10 adults complain of sensitive teeth? Relax: we’ve got the 101 on tooth sensitivity — where it comes from, and how to stop it.

It is easy to take your teeth for granted, especially when they perform their necessary functions. But what happens when one of the main cogs in your mouth derails and causes you to wince in discomfort? Here is all you need to know about the causes and solutions of tooth sensitivity.

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

Find yourself wincing when you brush your teeth or consume cold or acidic foods? You are not alone. Nearly 57 percent of adults between the ages of 20 and 50 have sensitive teeth.

Often, sensitive teeth arise from gum recession or damage to your tooth enamel. Think of enamel as a shield that forms an outer protective layer around our teeth. Enamel and cementum can erode when you grind your teeth or brush them with too much force, or even when the gum lines recede on their own.

Tooth sensitivity might also be brought on by a number of other causes such as cavities, lost or loose fillings and an exposed root surface.

Sensitive Teeth

How Do Roots Become Exposed?

Most people experience sensitive teeth because of an exposed root surface. This area is like an open cellar door that lets in a cold breeze — it connects with dental tubules, or tiny passages. These passages help to transmit temperatures of our food straight to the nerve cells of the tooth, causing uncomfortable sensations. Worn fillings, broken teeth and gum recession leave one’s root surface and dentin exposed. Uh oh — once this happens, teeth are incredibly susceptible to food temperatures, even when biting into a sweet bowl of shaved ice.

Shaved Ice

What Solutions Can You Seek?

Here’s the good news: these types of conditions are easily reversible, with a range of solutions to help alleviate sensitive teeth.

Using desensitizing products is an easy option. Many are available, from mouthwashes to protective fluoride varnishes that are “painted” directly onto your teeth. Or you might consider Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief toothpaste, which is formulated with Pro-Argin technology to provide immediate sensitivity relief. This formula also contains fluoride for cavity protection. Users are advised to brush twice a day with this toothpaste or as directed by their dentist. Want instant relief? Simply rub the toothpaste on the afflicted teeth with your fingertip for one minute.

Dentist Visit

Sources:

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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TOOTH SENSITIVITY

Definition

Tooth sensitivity occurs when the enamel that protects our teeth gets thinner, or when gum recession occurs, exposing the underlying surface, the dentin, thus, reducing the protection the enamel and gums provide to the tooth and root.

Signs & Symptoms

If hot, cold, sweet or very acidic foods and drinks, 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.

Is Tooth Sensitivity Cramping Your Style?

Tooth sensitivity can make eating and drinking a painful experience. Try one of our sensitivity relief products that, with continued use, can help prevent future occurrences.