Causes of tooth sensitivity and how to prevent it

May 23, 2018 2:51 pm

Tooth sensitivity is an acute and localized dental pain that appears when the teeth come into contact with thermal stimuli (hot and cold food / drinks), during brushing or even contact with the wind.

Dental sensitivity occurs when dentine, soft tissue that surrounds the inside of the teeth, loses its natural protection due to enamel wear or receding gums. Dentin is made up of thousands of microscopic tubes called dentinal tubules, these connect the external environment with the nerve endings inside the tooth. When the protection of the enamel disappears or when the gum is retracted, the tubules are exposed and allow stimuli such as cold, heat or acids to come into direct contact with the nerves of the tooth.

What causes tooth sensitivity?

The wear of the enamel, the retraction of the gums and the subsequent exposure of the dentine to external agents are closely related to eating habits and oral hygiene.

  • The consumption of acidic foods and drinks cause the erosion of the teeth. E.g. fizzy drinks, carbonated soft drinks, citrus juices, wines, beer and dressings with vinegar.
  • A poor brushing technique or the use of a toothpaste that is too abrasive can cause retraction of the gum or erosion of the enamel, respectively.
  • A lack of oral hygiene prolongs the effect of aggressive agents on the teeth.
  • Caries destroys the enamel which in turn exposes dentin.
  • Periodontal diseases cause retraction of the gum and damage the protection of the teeth.
  • Bruxism involves involuntary grinding of the teeth during sleep which subsequently causes tooth enamel wear.
  • Lastly, sensitivity may appear after tooth whitening however this is temporary and should last no longer than two weeks.

How to cure dental sensitivity?

The daily use of specific products relieves sensitivity and helps restore normal teeth and gums.

  • Avoid the consumption of acidic foods and drinks that can wear the enamel of your teeth.
  • Until the sensitivity has subsided, avoid food and drinks which are very hot or very cold.
  • Use a soft toothbrush such as the VITIS access soft toothbrush which will give you a gentle cleansing without sacrificing effective bacterial plaque removal.
  • Use low-abrasive toothpastes and mouthwashes which are specific to sensitive teeth. The VITIS anti-caries range helps to prevent tooth erosion. It is designed to repair the tooth surface, seal the dentinal tubules and reinforce the enamel with its high fluoride content.

Categorised in: