SENSITIVE TEETH: CAUSES, TREATMENTS, AND PREVENTION
- Tooth Sensitivity to Cold and Hot
- What Causes Sensitive Teeth?
- Sensitive Teeth Treatments
- How to Prevent Tooth Sensitivity
- What Helps Sensitive Teeth?
Tooth Sensitivity to Cold and Hot
People who suffer from tooth sensitivity avoid daily activities such as consuming hot or cold foods and beverages as well as brushing their teeth. These simple activities cause tooth sensitivity sufferers to live in constant fear of severe pain. Sensitivity occurs when the dentin, a porous tissue in your teeth, becomes exposed. The dentin has microscopic channels, called tubules, which are pathways to the nerve. When dentinal tubules are exposed, due to receding gum tissue or enamel loss, nerves are more easily triggered by certain stimuli causing tooth sensitivity.
What Causes Sensitive Teeth?
Tooth sensitivity is among the common causes of a toothache. The phrase “tooth sensitivity” refers to tooth discomfort or feelings of toothache in one or more teeth. The pain of tooth sensitivity is usually sharp, sudden and shooting. Tooth sensitivity occurs when the layer of a tooth underneath the enamel (called the dentin) or the layer covering the root (called cementum) is exposed along the gum line due to
receding gums. The exposed areas respond to hot and cold, and sometimes too sweet and spicy foods, and trigger pain.
Some factors which can contribute to tooth sensitivity include:
- Overzealous brushing: You can have too much of a good thing. Brushing your teeth with too much force, or with a hard-bristle toothbrush, may wear down tooth enamel, expose the cementum or dentin and cause tooth sensitivity. Try brushing with the Oral-B iO electric toothbrush to alleviate this issue. Its Smart Pressure Sensor turns red when brushing too hard and green when you’re brushing with just the right amount of pressure, all directly in the handle.
- Tooth grinding: Grinding your teeth can cause the enamel to wear away and leave the dentin exposed.
- Dental cleanings or treatments.
- Temporary tooth sensitivity: which can occur after a professional teeth-whitening treatment, but usually goes away shortly after the procedure ends.
- Gum disease: Inflamed gum tissue pulls away from the tooth, leaving vulnerable areas exposed.
If you are exhibiting any signs or symptoms of tooth sensitivity, visit your dental professional immediately for a proper assessment.
Sensitive Teeth Treatments
Sensitivity pain is not something anyone should have to live with. Fortunately, there are a number of treatment options available that can help relieve the issue. Since 80% of sensitivity starts at the gum line, it’s crucial to brush with a toothpaste that’s good for your gums and a toothbrush or brush head with softer bristles to avoid damaging the gums. The Oral-B iO comes equipped with a sensitive mode while its micro-vibrating bristles gently, but effectively clean your teeth and gums.
See your dental professional for proper assessment and to find out the best steps to take for treatment.
Most Advanced with Sensitivity Mode
How to Prevent Tooth Sensitivity
Here are some steps you can take to prevent tooth sensitivity:
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, which will help prevent gum loss.
- Brush with a sensitivity toothpaste like Crest Gum and Sensitivity, which will continue removing plaque to clean teeth while providing fast relief from sensitivity by treating it at the source—your gum line.
- Brush and floss your teeth twice a day to prevent gum loss.
- Be sure to clean all parts of your mouth, including between teeth and along the gum line.
- Avoid acidic foods and drinks.
Crest Sensi-Stop Strips are thin, flexible strips which are applied directly to sensitive areas, providing targeted delivery of the key ingredient. Within minutes, strips build a lasting barrier that helps to stop sensitivity pain, relieving symptoms for up to 30 days.
We recommend using Oral-B Sensitive Replacement Brush Heads or the Oral-B iO electric toothbrush set to sensitivity mode when treating teeth sensitivity. When it comes to teeth sensitivity, a healthier mouth starts with good brushing habits.
What Helps Sensitive Teeth?
If you have sensitive teeth, don’t neglect your daily oral care routine. Just be sure to use a soft toothbrush and soft floss. You can also try a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth, Crest offers a variety of oral care products that help relieve sensitivity pain, like Crest Gum and Sensitivity toothpaste. Also, try spreading some sensitizing toothpaste along the exposed cementum or dentin area before bed to help reduce sensitivity. Just use your fingertip or a cotton swab to rub the toothpaste directly onto the exposed spot.
This blog has been reviewed and approved by Dr Robert Lee,
a dental professional of 35 years
Dr Robert Lee
Dr Robert Lee is a dentist with more than thirty years of experience in the industry.
Graduating from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery and from the University of New South Wales with a Master of Business Administration, Robert’s career has taken him all over the world – from Australia to Germany to his current position in Chicago, where he is the founder of Denticus Inc., offering strategic dental consulting.
Robert has previously worked for Procter & Gamble as the Director of Professional Scientific Relations in both the Cincinnati and Sydney offices, being responsible for external relations and scientific exchange with leading professional associations and industry thought leaders. He was also responsible for all technical and scientific training for the professional teams in North America and Australia.
Robert has been assisting the team at Oral-B by fact-checking and reviewing our blogs on dental health. You can find a list of the blogs Robert has approved below:
- Receding Gums: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments
- What are Dental Caries? Treatments, Signs, and Symptoms
- Dental Scaling and Root Planing Explained
- Sensitive Teeth: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention
- Types of Gum Disease: Stages, Factors & Related Conditions
- Cavity Treatments: What are Ways to Treat Cavities?
- Tooth Plaque and Dental Tartar
- What is Periodontitis? Treatments, Signs, and Symptoms
- Tooth Decay and Cavities: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
- Bad Breath (Halitosis): Causes, Remedies, and Treatments