If your teeth are sensitive to hot/cold/sweet/sour food and beverages, breathing in cold air, and brushing your teeth, the cause can usually be linked to an existing oral health issue. In most cases, tooth sensitivity may simply be a result of worn tooth enamel. On the other hand, a sensitive tooth root may indicate that you are experiencing a much more serious oral condition, such as gum disease and root decay.
It’s important to consult with your dentist, if your tooth sensitivity intensifies into pain or lingers for longer than 30 seconds, in order to identify the cause and the appropriate treatment solution.
The most common causes for tooth sensitivity:
- Sweet and sour foods are usually acidic and can erode tooth surfaces as well as penetrate the exposed dentin to affect the tooth nerves.
- Vigorous and incorrect brushing with a hard bristled toothbrush may wear down your tooth enamel, and cause gum recession. Exposed tooth roots are more sensitive to stimuli because they are not protected by tooth enamel.
- Tooth whitening toothpaste are designed to whiten your teeth, but if you over do it, the whitening agents may start to affect your teeth.
- Mouthwashes and rinses that contain alcohol and other harsh chemicals can contribute to tooth sensitivity.
- Periodontal (gum) disease damages your tooth and root surfaces.
- Receding gums expose your vulnerable tooth root surfaces.
- Tooth decay and cavities from plaque and tartar build up. Plaque and tartar destroy tooth enamel and dentin leading to nerve exposure.
- Grinding your teeth can wear down your tooth enamel, and expose damaged dentin to thermal stimuli.
- Chipped or cracked teeth can cause sensitivity and pain when chewing.
- Dental restorations such as cleaning and crown replacement may result in temporary tooth sensitivity.
- Post-treatment secondary infections can occur if oral hygiene and after-treatment care are not maintained.