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7 Common Causes of Sensitive Teeth

Ann Arbor Dentist

Tooth sensitivity can be difficult to deal with, especially when something as simple as drinking water can aggravate it. Tooth sensitivity has many causes, so it’s important to know what could be causing your sensitivity. Read over the list below to figure out what may be causing your teeth sensitivity and don’t hesitate to contact us as your local dentist if pain or aggravation persists. 

1. Brushing Too Hard

While brushing your teeth thoroughly is important for good oral and physical health, but brushing too hard can actually cause damage. Using too much force while brushing or using hard-bristled toothbrushes can wear down your enamel. 

When the enamel gets removed, the nerves in your teeth become exposed, which causes your teeth to feel sensitive. Brush thoroughly, but gently to avoid experiencing sensitivity. A good practice is to remember that the bristles of your brush should gently touch your teeth. If they bend harshly or fray as you brush, you’re most likely brushing too hard. 

2. Eating the Wrong Foods

Eating a balanced diet isn’t just important for your overall health, it’s extremely important for your oral health as well. 

Consuming too much sugar can cause the bacteria in your mouth to produce acids that can erode your teeth. After long enough exposure to these acids, your teeth become sensitive as the nerves have become exposed. Try to keep sugary and acidic foods to a minimum as this can help reduce your risk of sensitive teeth.

3. Grinding and Clenching Your Teeth

Many people unconsciously grind and clench their teeth, especially while they sleep. It’s something known as “Bruxism” and there are treatments for it such as night guards to help protect your teeth while you sleep. 

Grinding and clenching your teeth can wear down your enamel. Just like brushing too hard and eating harmful foods, grinding your teeth creates access to your nerves, ultimately resulting in sensitivity. Wearing a protective night guard can help prevent you from grinding your teeth while you sleep and could save you from that painful sensation you get from drinking ice water. 

4. Teeth Whitening

While whitening your teeth may give you a beautiful smile, it may cause damage to your teeth. Numerous people experience tooth sensitivity while using over the counter whitening strips. The harsh ingredients in these whitening strips may brighten your smile, but they also weaken your enamel. To avoid sensitivity, keep teeth whitening to a minimum and talk with your dentist about the best professional teeth whitening options

5. Plaque Buildup

Plaque is constantly forming in your mouth, and if it’s not taken care of, it can lead to sensitive teeth. 

Plaque not only eats away at your teeth but also at your gums, causing sensitivity in both. To reduce plaque buildup, practice a good oral care routine that includes thorough brushing and flossing. As your dentist, you know what we recommend: twice daily

6. Cracked or Chipped Teeth

Cracked and chipped teeth can be rather painful and particularly sensitive. When a tooth is cracked or chipped, the sensitive layer of your tooth is exposed, causing you to feel pain and sensitivity. Schedule a visit with your dentist as soon as possible to address the problem before it gets worse.

7. Gum Disease

Gingivitis and periodontal disease can also cause tooth sensitivity. The gum line often recedes with gum disease, revealing the dentin in your teeth. Dentin is the tissue beneath tooth enamel that, when exposed, results in tooth sensitivity. 

Be sure to keep up with your oral care routine and see your dentist regularly to reduce your risk of developing gum disease

Bonus: Sensitive Teeth Solutions

Of course, there are no one-solution-fits-all cases. But here are a few tricks that might be able to help you if you’re experiencing sensitive teeth:

  • Avoid going from cold foods to hot foods. The temperature shock can cause a spike in sensitivity.
  • Use dentists approved sensitive teeth toothpaste. 
  • Try to cut out drinks like coffee or alcohol to see if they alter your sensitivity or any teeth grinding patterns. 

Want More Dental Advice? 

If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, try following some of the suggestions listed above. Also, be sure to request an appointment with your dentist to get to the root of your tooth sensitivity and find a solution. Although simple fixes may help for a time, a regular dental check-up is your safest bet. To learn more about our Ann Arbor, MI dentists and the services we offer, please contact us online or call us at (734) 201-1610. Our dental professionals strive to be the very best at providing patients with optimal care while making them feel right at home here in Ann Arbor, MI.