If your daily hot coffee is causing you more pain than pleasure and you break out in a sweat at the mere thought of eating ice cream, you may be asking yourself ‘How do I know if I have sensitive teeth?’
The warning signs have been there for a while. It started with a slight twinge every time you ate something hot or cold, or perhaps it was something sugary sweet. You put up with it at first, but then it became severe enough for you to avoid certain foods.
We all know that life without ice cream isn’t any fun, but when the piping hot coffee that helps you face the day is put in jeopardy, it’s time to get to the root of the problem. All jokes aside, having sensitive teeth is no laughing matter and could be the sign of an underlying problem that only your dentist can advise you on.
Signs and symptoms of sensitive teeth
If you have sensitive teeth, the pain you experience from hot or cold food and drink can be hard to ignore. A hot coffee or soup can send a shooting pain through your tooth setting off hours of pain and discomfort. Other times it can be a dull ache or mild soreness that comes and goes, or a pain that hits when you least expect it. It can put a dampener on your social life and take the enjoyment out of the food and drink you once loved. Even breathing in cold air can be an issue! If you’re experiencing mild to major discomfort, it is time to seek a dentist’s help to relieve your pain and to ensure there isn’t a deeper problem at play.
How do I know if I should see a dentist?
If your symptoms are ongoing and have led you to avoid certain foods and reach for the pain relief, it is recommended you see your dentist for a thorough examination. There are many courses of action you can take to relieve the pain of sensitive teeth, but it is important to ensure there are no serious problems behind your teeth sensitivity such as cavities, abscesses or gum disease. On examination, your dentist can advise you of the best steps forward to relieving your pain. There is no point putting up with dental pain if you don’t have to – see a dentist to put a stop to your teeth sensitivity.
Why are my teeth sensitive?
Teeth sensitivity is the result of nerve irritation. When the hard enamel on teeth is worn down or thinning, it will increase the chance of sensitivity, as will damaged gums. Any exposed areas in your teeth and gums are at risk of becoming tender when they are subjected to hot or cold temperatures. The important thing to remember is that tooth sensitivity is common and can be treated.
Causes of teeth sensitivity
So, what is causing this mayhem in your mouth?
#1 Brushing your teeth too hard
You may be in a mad rush to get off to work or simply think you’re giving your teeth a thorough once over, but overzealous brushing can do more harm than good. You can wear away the enamel on your teeth and cause your gums to pull away from the tooth. Take it easy on your teeth and ditch your hard bristled brush for a softer variety. Your teeth need TLC not tough love.
#2 Addicted to acidic foods
You may think you’re doing the best by your body tucking into truckloads of oranges, lemons and tomatoes, but these acidic fruits and foods can play havoc with your teeth. The acid in fruit can be a major cause of enamel erosion exposing your teeth to pain and sensitivity. If you can’t stay away from acidic fruits and drinks, try drinking a glass of milk or having a piece of cheese afterwards to neutralise the acid and lessen the damage to your teeth. Drinking through a straw will also lessen the chance of damage.
#3 The trouble with toothpaste and teeth whiteners
A brilliant white smile is on everyone’s wish list, but make sure the secret to your bright whites isn’t the cause of your tooth sensitivity. Some toothpastes and teeth whiteners can be abrasive and damaging to teeth. If your teeth have become sensitive, try changing your product to see if you notice a difference in sensitivity.
#4 Grinding your teeth
Do you wake up in the morning with aching and sensitive teeth? Perhaps your other half is complaining you kept them up all night grinding your teeth? A protective mouth guard worn at night is worth investing in for teeth grinders suffering from sore and sensitive teeth. If you think you might be a teeth grinder, see your dentist for advice on protective mouth guards.
#5 Gum disease
Your sensitive teeth could be the sign of a deeper problem such as gingivitis – the beginning of gum disease. Warning signs can include sensitivity and swollen or bleeding gums. If gum disease is an issue, your dentist will provide advice on the best course of action to bring your teeth and gums back to top health.
#6 Cavities or cracked teeth
A cavity or cracked tooth can expose nerves and cause a mountain of pain in your mouth. See your dentist regularly to address any cracks or holes in your teeth, or fillings or crowns that may have come loose exposing nerves beneath.
Preventing sensitive teeth
Regular visits to your dental health professional will ensure your oral health is in tip top shape and you’re at minimal risk of pain and discomfort from your teeth. If there are underlying issues such as cavities, cracks or gum disease, your dentist will recommend the best course of action.
In the meantime, keep this checklist close at hand to keep your teeth from causing you pain.
- Brush and floss twice a day.
- Avoid aggressive brushing – TLC not tough love.
- Choose a softer toothbrush.
- Experiment with various toothpastes.
- Use a mouthguard if you’re a teeth grinder.
- Don’t brush your teeth immediately after eating or drinking acidic food.
- Drink a glass of milk after eating acidic food.
If you are still asking yourself ‘How do I know if I have sensitive teeth?’ book an appointment with Australia Dental today to speak to one of our friendly dental professionals.
How do I know if I have sensitive teeth? If you have to ask, you’re probably already there! Contact Australia Dental for early treatment of dental problems.