woman having her teeth examined by a dentist

3 Possible Causes of Tooth Pain After Brushing

Have you noticed discomfort or pain after brushing your teeth? Picking up on warning signs of oral health issues and quickly acting on them is a great way to keep your teeth and gums in excellent condition. Read on for the top three causes of tooth pain and what to do about them.

Tooth Sensitivity

Cleaning your teeth is essential for keeping your smile healthy. If your teeth hurt after brushing or eating hot or cold foods, you may have tooth sensitivity. According to the American Dental Association, tooth decay and gum disease can cause tooth sensitivity, and you will need professional treatment. Your dental professionals can check for signs of oral health problems and recommend a treatment for tooth sensitivity, such as a special toothpaste, a crown, or an in-office application of fluoride gel.

Tooth sensitivity may be temporary. Some people report tooth pain shortly after a visit to their dental hygienist, if the dental hygienist has done any scaling or tartar removal. Your teeth could also be sensitive if you have gum recession, as the exposed root surface may cause discomfort. In this case, tooth sensitivity is likely only temporary, so you can simply brush your teeth with sensitive toothpaste. Usually, your teeth will return to normal within a few weeks. If they do not, call your dentist and ask them to check your teeth.

If a recent dental treatment is not to blame, food sensitivity can often be a side effect of damaged enamel, which you can't get back once worn away. Damaged enamel occurs when the hard mineral that protects your teeth's surface erodes over time, as explained by the United States National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). Enamel erosion is usually the result of exposure to acid or excess sugar. Enamel that wears away can result in cavities and pain after brushing or flossing. If you suspect this is the reason for your teeth hurting after flossing or brushing, talk to your dentist.

If the enamel wears away to the point of exposing the sensitive nerves in your teeth, you have a cavity. These cavities often manifest as sharp pain when you bite down on something hard, and it doesn't have to be hot or cold to set you off. Cavities are small fissures in your teeth, but they can lead to more complicated problems if left unfilled. You should see your dentist as soon as you suspect you have one; he or she can fill it to prevent the condition from worsening.

Gum Problems and Cavities

Gum problems precede gum disease. Plaque build-up irritates gum tissue, making gums swollen and tender. Maintain proper oral hygiene and see your dentist if you notice these symptoms. As gum problems progress, they can become more challenging to treat.

The Wrong Toothbrush

If you notice pain and discomfort after brushing with a hard-bristled brush, it may be time to get a new toothbrush. Most dentists recommend a soft-bristled toothbrush to keep teeth clean. Good brushing technique with a soft brush can help remove plaque and help fight tooth cavities and gum problems without irritating your gums and teeth. Brush for two minutes using short, gentle strokes. Clean all the surfaces of your teeth, including the outside, inside, and chewing surface of those hard-to-reach back teeth.

As you can see, tooth pain after brushing may be a temporary inconvenience after a professional dental treatment, or it may be a sign of a more serious oral health condition. Maintain good oral hygiene habits with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Be sure to see your dentist if you notice pain, discomfort, or sensitive gums.

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