Did you know that one out of four adults suffers from dentin hypersensitivity or “sensitive” teeth? This is generally caused by receding gums and/or the wear of tooth enamel. Uncomfortable and often very painful, dentin hypersensitivity occurs when hot or cold food and beverages come into contact with an exposed root surface or the porous part a tooth, called the dentin. There are several causes of dentin hypersensitivity, including:
- Tartar: When you don’t take care of your teeth properly, tartar can build up around your gums, causing bacteria to develop and cause a receding gum line.
- Bad brushing: Up to 90% of people brush their teeth too hard, causing receding gums over time.
- Using the wrong toothbrush: A toothbrush with hard bristles can damage the surface of your teeth.
- Enamel erosion: Erosion is caused by chemical substances, such as citric acid in soft drinks and energy drinks.
- Bruxism: Teeth grinding, whether done consciously or not, harms people’s overall dental health.
- Medical problems: Chemotherapy, bulimia, trauma, and other medical issues can also be the culprit when it comes to dentin hypersensitivity.
As is the case with other dental problems, hypersensitivity can be prevented by adopting good habits on a daily basis: gently brush your teeth twice a day for 2 to 3 minutes to remove as much tartar as possible and use a soft-bristled toothbrush or an electric toothbrush (some have even been designed to minimize abrasion!). Floss your teeth and use a fluoride mouthwash when needed. Eat healthy foods that are low on sugar. Finally, regularly visit your dentist for a check-up and cleaning.