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Causes of Dental Sensitivity

December 05, 2023

Dental sensitivity, also known as tooth sensitivity, occurs when the enamel on your teeth is worn down or when your gums recede, exposing the underlying dentin. Dentin contains microscopic tubules that lead to the tooth’s nerve center (pulp), and when these tubules are exposed, it can result in tooth sensitivity. Several factors can contribute to dental sensitivity:

Enamel Erosion: The enamel is the outer layer of the tooth, and it can be eroded by acidic foods and drinks, as well as stomach acid from conditions like acid reflux. Enamel erosion exposes the dentin and can lead to sensitivity.

Gum Recession: Gum recession occurs when the gums pull away from the teeth, exposing the tooth roots. Since the roots do not have a protective layer of enamel, they are more susceptible to sensitivity.

Brushing Too Hard: Brushing your teeth too vigorously or using a toothbrush with hard bristles can wear down the enamel and contribute to sensitivity.

Tooth Decay: Cavities or tooth decay can lead to sensitivity, especially when the decay reaches the dentin or pulp of the tooth.

Gingivitis or Periodontal Disease: Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) or more severe periodontal disease can cause gum recession, exposing the sensitive tooth roots.

Cracked or Chipped Teeth: Damaged teeth, whether from cracks, chips, or fractures, can expose the dentin and lead to sensitivity.

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism): Grinding or clenching your teeth can wear down enamel, leading to sensitivity.

Dental Procedures: Some dental procedures, such as teeth whitening or dental cleanings, can cause temporary sensitivity.

Age: As you age, the enamel on your teeth may naturally wear down, increasing the likelihood of sensitivity.

Acidic Foods and Beverages: Consuming acidic foods and drinks, such as citrus fruits, sodas, or certain vinegars, can contribute to enamel erosion and sensitivity.

If you’re experiencing dental sensitivity, it’s essential to consult with a dentist. They can identify the underlying cause and recommend appropriate treatment or lifestyle changes to alleviate sensitivity and protect your oral health.

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