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Why are my teeth sensitive?

With the winter’s frigid air sweeping through, you may notice just how sensitive your teeth really are. You cringe when the cold air hits your teeth after a sip of hot coffee from your mug. Sensitivity like this can cause discomfort, but may also be a sign of an underlying issue. When your enamel erodes, it exposes the dentin or tooth’s root causing sensitivity. Because many different things can cause this, it’s important for you to see your dentist, evaluate the potential culprits, and identify solutions to save your enamel.

Potential Culprits

Brushing your teeth too hard

If you’re using a hard toothbrush, scrubbing your teeth vigorously, or not brushing for a full two minutes, you’re doing more harm for your sensitive teeth. Hard brushing can actually wear away enamel, increasing the sensitivity in your teeth.

Acid exposure

Exposure to red wine, pop, fruit juices and acidic foods such as oranges and tomatoes can erode your enamel. Even if your teeth aren’t feeling sensitive yet, it’s a good idea to be cautious about consuming certain foods and drinks. Food isn’t the only thing that can expose your teeth to acidity. Consistent acid reflux can cause great damage to enamels as well. It is recommended to wait 20 minutes after acid exposure to brush your teeth, as brushing within 20 minutes of exposure can further harm the enamel.

Grinding your teeth

Grinding your teeth when you’re sleeping or tense could wear away enamel and cause a sensitivity problem.

Receding gums

Receding gums can expose your roots causing teeth sensitivity. Receding gums can be caused by inadequate brushing or flossing, tobacco use, or illnesses such as diabetes.

The first and most important recommendation for preventing enamel loss and teeth sensitivity would be to consult with your dentist to get the proper treatment based on the nature of your problem. What many people do not realize, is that sensitivity could be due to decay and if this is the case, restoration is the only treatment of choice. Depending on the underlying reason, we may recommend sensitivity toothpaste, application of desensitizing agent, or other means of dealing with the problem.

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