6 Main Causes of Sensitive Teeth and How to Deal

Categories: General Dentistry

causes of sensitive teethSCOTTS VALLEY, SANTA CRUZ CA

When you sip hot coffee, does it hurt your teeth? Do you avoid eating ice cream or other frozen treats because you know the cold sensation will make your teeth ache? For many people, tooth sensitivity is triggered by hot, cold, and acidic foods. Unfortunately, this sensitivity also may occur when brushing your teeth. Whether the actual sensation feels like a dull ache or a stabbing pain, increased sensitivity can be the first indicator of a more serious oral health problem. That’s why our general dentists in Scotts Valley Dr. Max and Ariana Ebrahimian want to educate you on these six main causes of sensitive teeth, and ways to deal with this pain.

The Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

  • Bruxism: This is the clinical term for clenching or grinding your teeth. Most people grind their teeth because of stress, and sometimes it’s due to TMJ disorder. These habits often occur during sleep, so you might be grinding your teeth and never realize it. Meanwhile, bruxism destroys your enamel, the outermost protective layer of your teeth, and reveals the sensitive interior structure, which causes the sudden discomfort you feel when eating something extremely hot or cold.
  • Tooth Decay: Did you know 90 percent of Americans develop at least one cavity by the age of 20? Tooth decay also is a common cause of tooth sensitivity because cavities are weakened areas of enamel.
  • Overbrushing: We all know the importance of brushing our teeth regularly, but brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled brush could damage the protective enamel, making your teeth more vulnerable to decay and injury, and increases tooth sensitivity.
  • Too Much Acid: Acidic foods such as lemons, oranges, pickles, tomato sauce, grapefruits, and soft drinks weaken dental enamel, causing sensitivity. Eating and drinking a diet with too much acid content throws off the pH balance in your mouth. This, in turn, speeds up the natural erosion of tooth enamel.
  • Gum Disease: Periodontal disease affects millions of Americans. Stemming from a bacterial infection in your gums, this disease often is caused by poor oral hygiene or lack of dental care. Smoking, poor nutrition, and other preexisting medical conditions also play a role in increasing one’s risk of gum disease. If you’re living with gum disease, tooth sensitivity is just one of the many potential consequences because the infection causes the gums to recede, exposing the root area of the tooth. The only way to prevent further damage from periodontal disease is to receive routine treatments from a Santa Cruz general dentist.

Treating Tooth Sensitivity in Los Gatos

In order to truly determine what is causing your increased tooth sensitivity, you’ll need to see one of our expert dentists at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry. If brushing too hard is the culprit, the solution may be something simple like using a different toothbrush, switching to a new toothpaste, or altering your brushing technique. A dietary change also can be easy to make if you’re already avoiding certain foods and drinks because of your tooth sensitivity.

If you’re living with heightened tooth sensitivity, don’t ignore this sensation. The pain signals your teeth send your brain are an important message that something is affecting your dental health. You can trust Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry to identify the cause of your tooth sensitivity and provide treatment as part of our commitment to comprehensive, uncompromising care. Make an appointment at our dental office in Scotts Valley today by calling (831) 438-4411 if you’re located in the areas of Scotts Valley, Santa Cruz, and Los Gatos, California.