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How do Teeth Become Sensitive?

If you frequently have pain or discomfort in your teeth when you eat or drink, you share this experience with 40 million other Americans. Fortunately, it is something that can be avoided or treated.

This often occurs just because of using a toothbrush that has bristles that are too stiff or from brushing too hard. Try one that is labeled soft or medium. Some toothpastes have irritating ingredients (such as charcoal or abrasives for an aggressive clean). Switch to one that states that it is made especially for those with sensitivity (the formula may also include some desensitizing agents).

Teeth can also become sensitive when the gums become inflamed from inadequate or improper brushing and flossing habits, which leads  to gum recession and that exposes the nerves of the roots.

If you develop cavities, these can be sensitive to the touch of anything, including foods or toothbrushes. You should seek early treatment to keep them from becoming larger and more painful.

There are many foods and drinks that are too cold or too hot, or they have ingredients, such as acids or sugars, which irritate the nerves of any teeth that are exposed. Prime offenders are ice cream, coffee, tea, sodas, sticky candy, tomatoes, and citrus fruits such as pineapple, grapefruit, lemons and limes. Hard candy can chip teeth, exposing their sensitive inner tissues. If you can tolerate ice in drinks, just don’t chew on it.

Drinks with high alcohol content can dry the mouth, which encourages bacteria to breed (more saliva fights bacteria).  If they have a high sugar content, this also allows bacteria to flourish. The better options would be light beer, gin and tonic, and brut champagne. Alternating drinking alcohol or soda with water will help limit the negative effects.

The protective outer surface of the tooth, the enamel, can also be worn away not only by acidic foods and beverages and harsh brushing, but acid reflux. There are many over-the-counter remedies to stop it and digestive aids that can help prevent this.

If you find yourself tensing your jaw during the day, you may be grinding your teeth at night. This is known as bruxism, which results in the protective surface being reduced.  The damaged teeth can be treated with onlays (like big fillings) or protective crowns for any that need more coverage. We can also create a customized night guard, similar to a sports mouth guard, that you will wear comfortably at night to prevent further damage.  

Set an appointment today with NYC Endodontics, serving the Manhattan, New York City, Brooklyn, Queens, Hoboken, and Jersey City areas, for an examination of the health of your teeth and how we can help you decrease any sensitivity.

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