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Common Causes Of Sensitive Teeth And How To Deal With It

Updated on March 9, 2011

Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity often presents itself as pain or discomfort after eating or drinking cold foods or when breathing in cold air.

Those of us with sensitive teeth have to be cautious when eating ice cream! It's really not a fun thing to deal with, but here's what causes it and some things you can do to help it.

What Causes Sensitive Teeth

The most common cause for sensitive teeth is a receding gum line.

This is when your gum that protects the roots of your teeth recedes. This is typically caused for one of two reasons:

-Brushing too hard. An estimated 50%-90% of people brush their teeth too hard. Over time, If you use too much force when brushing your teeth it removes gum tissue and exposes the roots.

-Plaque build-up on the teeth and gums. Over time the plaque hardens and turns into tartar which contains bacteria that results in gingivitis and periodontal disease, which in turn causes the gums to recede.

How To Prevent Sensitive Teeth

There are quite a few things that you can do to prevent sensitive teeth, such as;

-Brushing softer. If you use a lot of force when brushing your teeth, you must likely have done this nearly your entire life so it's hard habit to break. You do it without even realizing it. If you find it hard to brush your teeth softer, then you can buy an electronic toothbrush that will prevent you from brushing too hard. Some electronic brushes will stop spinning if you use too much force, some have a light that comes on if you push too hard.

-Proper oral hygiene. It takes 2-3 minutes to PROPERLY brush your teeth. Generally you should brush each 1/4 of your mouth for 30 seconds. Make sure you brush your gums and tongue, not only your teeth!

-Flossing is important as well. There's about 35% of tooth surface that your toothbrush can't reach. You have to floss to reach that 35%. This surface area is a common spot for plaque and tartar build-up, so make flossing a daily routine.

How To Deal With Sensitive Teeth

If you have sensitive teeth the best thing to do is to see your dentist.

Otherwise, just stay away from cold foods and drinks or eat/drink carefully. Anytime I eat ice cream I am not able to bite the ice cream with my teeth like most people, I have to use my tongue and lips, it's sort of a pain but I have gotten use to dealing with it.

Switching to an electric toothbrush and special toothpaste for sensitive teeth will help you deal with this as well.


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    • profile image

      Nanditha 5 years ago

      I just started having sensitive teeth and not able to bare the pain, thank you for your advice

    • profile image

      fon 6 years ago

      Thanks for the nice article.

    • LowellWriter profile image

      L.A. Walsh 8 years ago from Lowell, MA

      Great advice. Thank you for answering my request! :o)