An estimated one in eight people regularly suffer the pain and discomfort of sensitive teeth. Not only does this make some foods and drinks a misery to consume, but it can also lead to more serious dental problems. Painful teeth make proper oral hygiene unpleasant, and turn dental appointments into an experience to be dreaded.
But luckily, most cases of sensitive teeth can be treated very successfully. What you need to do depends on the underlying cause, which is usually one of four things.
1) Receding Gums
Your gums normally protect the sensitive parts of your teeth from direct contact and sudden changes in temperature. When your gums recede, they expose the softer dental areas, leading to over-sensitivity and pain.
Receding gums are often caused by brushing your teeth too hard using a worn-out or stiff brush. If your gums ever feel sore, then check with your Prattville dentist to make sure there's no other problem, but you can reduce the symptoms by switching to a new, soft-bristled brush and be a little more gentle than normal.
Also, receding gums can be caused by smoking, so if you're a smoker who hasn't yet quit, this is yet another reason to do so.
2) Gum Disease
Sometimes, however, gum problems go beyond just receding. Gum disease is caused by a build-up of bacteria, leading to damaging plaque, which eventually hardens into tartar. This will turn your gums swollen and bleeding, along with causing sensitivity as the delicate parts of your teeth become exposed or even infected.
Once gum disease has taken hold, your dentist will need to give your teeth a thorough deep-clean to remove all traces of plaque and tartar. They can then help you raise your oral hygiene game to prevent gingivitis from flaring up again.
Decay doesn't always announce itself with an obvious, painful hole in your tooth. Sometimes, a tiny cavity can be enough to cause extreme sensitivity before it spreads enough to be noticeable in other ways. Regular check-ups at your dentist will help pick up these early stages of decay, and then the damage can be quickly repaired to reduce sensitivity.
4) Enamel Softening
Lastly, eating acidic foods can soften the enamel on your teeth's surface, making them weaker and more vulnerable to pressure and changes in temperature. Try and reduce the acid in your diet. For example, cut back on sodas.
Also, remember to rinse your mouth with water straight after eating fruit or sweet treats to dilute the acid they contain. Never brush straight after eating acidic foods, as this risks scraping the softened enamel away making the problem far worse. Allow half an hour between eating and brushing to be on the safe side.
Some people are more naturally prone to sensitive teeth than others, but you don't need to put up with constant discomfort. Careful dental hygiene along with regular check-up visits will see the problem reduced or even cured completely, helping you take back control of your oral care.