About 90% of the population suffer from tooth sensitivity at some point in their life.
Tooth sensitivity basically refers to a sudden sharp temporary pain or discomfort while drinking something hot or cold or may be caused due to other stimuli such as cold air, having sweet or sour foods.
The reason for hypersensitivity is loss of tooth enamel which forms the outermost layer of the tooth protecting the underlying dentin.
Wearing off of the enamel layer leads to exposure of the dentinal nerve endings which causes sensitivity.
Wearing off of enamel layer is associated with numerous factors such as:
1.Type of toothbrush and method of brushing:
Using a hard bristle brush and applying excessive pressure while brushing may lead to enamel loss. Likewise brushing for more than 2 minutes may lead to enamel loss.
2. Tooth grinding:
Tooth grinding also known as bruxism which is clenching of teeth due to stress or during sleep is one of the factors contributing to sensitivity.
3. Consuming aerated drinks and sugary foods:
This causes dissolving of the enamel layer by the acid present in sodas and sugars in carb-rich foods that can damage enamel.
4. Gum disease:
Deposits and tartar accumulation in the gum line leads to gum diseases which can cause receding of the gumline exposing the roots of teeth that are devoid of enamel and are prone to sensitivity.
5. Tooth decay:
Tooth cavities mostly start at the enamel surface and damage to which can cause sensitivity.
In order to prevent sensitivity and keep it at bay one must:
-Use a soft toothbrush and brush using the correct brushing technique. Avoid applying undue pressure on teeth while brushing. (Remember that the brushing technique is far more important than the time taken and pressure applied.)
-Consult your dentist in case you have a tooth grinding habit for dental splints.
-Consume whole foods, milk, cheese, and yogurt for strong teeth, and avoid sodas and sugary fruit juices.
-Use desensitizing toothpaste and get a professional cleaning done every six months to keep your gums in good health.
-Get a dental check-up every 6 months and get your minor fillings and sealants done to avoid severe decay.