From time to time we all suffer a bit of tooth sensitivity, but what causes it and what should we do to stop it?
There are several causes so I’ll discuss them separately,with the solutions and preventive advice for both cause and effect.
Using a hard toothbrush, being too hard with your toothbrush, and brushing too often will all wear away tooth structure, which for the most part has no reparative capability, put all of these together and you will wear away your tooth tissue far quicker than the bacteria ever would have. We tend to see that people with an abrasive brushing technique will wear away the tooth at the gum margin, generally on the opposite side of the mouth to their brushing hand. This is characterized by sensitivity to cold mainly. Once the abrasive technique is corrected, the sensitivity will subside,and some of the sensitive toothpastes will help in the interim.
A medium nylon toothbrush with a small head is recommended, and it should last about 3 months, before it looks like you’ve beaten it up!! … when looking at it from the plastic side, the bristles shouldn’t be all over the place. In more severe cases where the tooth is worn into the dentine, a small filling can be bonded to the tooth surface, protecting this softer layer of tooth tissue, and becoming almost sacrificial, as you brush the filling not the tooth.
Hot and cold sensitivity can also be caused by holes or cavities in the teeth. Generally by this stage a cavity has penetrated the dentine of the tooth, which is closely related to the nerve . This requires attention and generally intervention, i.e. a filling At this stage it is important to seek professional help, as left unheeded, this will progress and may kill the nerve of the tooth…….big pain and usually bigger bills!
To prevent cavities forming, practice the four pillars of prevention, and make sure you come visit for regular check-ups around 6 monthly, and a set of cavity detecting x-rays, every 18 months or so.
During periods of our life we may find that external stress may cause us to clench or grind. Some people grind habitually, wearing down their teeth and their sleeping partners!!
If the grinding is due to stress this will generally pass as the stress factor is addressed. In the short term a may help, ask the dentist, most health funds will cover a night guard to protect the teeth. Habitual grinders or Bruxists, will have wear facets on their teeth and may report hypersensitivity Relaxation exercises for the jaw may help,but its a difficult habit to break and generally requires intervention. Bruxists may also suffer from headaches, tooth pain, and their facial muscles also ache.
If you suffer from any of the above, see a professional, its always so much easier to prevent, than cure.
Erosion and acidic drinks
Fruit juices, sports drinks and warm sugary drinks, especially at this time of the year can all cause cavities and erosion .Dental erosion is becoming a big problem worldwide for the dental profession, and its difficult to treat. Did you know that some lollies/sweets, especially the sours, have the same pH as battery acid!! This will erode the enamel causing sensitivity.Try to limit acidic events in the mouth, by eating lollies all at once, and not sipping on carbonated drinks, or sports drinks
correct brushing techniques