As surprising as this may sound, tooth sensitivity can be affected by age; and we’re not talking about old age, either. Tooth sensitivity is highest between ages 25 to 30, so if you’ve been taking good care of your teeth, they show no signs of decay, and you’ve been seeing your dentist regularly, you probably don’t have much to worry about. However, a suddenly sensitive tooth or teeth can be symptoms of another problem.
There are many reasons for someone to develop sensitivity. You may be developing tooth decay near the gum line. Since you see no decay on top of the tooth, you might not be aware a cavity exists, but it can create tiny holes near the gum in front or the back of the tooth.
You could also be developing gingivitis. Inflamed or sore gums may cause sensitivity due to the loss of supporting ligaments, which exposes the root surface leading directly to the tooth. If you have advanced gingivitis, that is periodontal disease, the gums are moving away from the tooth, exposing the roots.
Teeth grinding can also cause sudden sensitivity. Habitual grinding or clenching your teeth wears down the enamel, exposing the underlying dentin.
Other reasons for seeing your dentist for sensitivity include a cracked or broken tooth, which may fill up with plaque, causing inflammation, a loose filling or an improperly fitting crown. Let your dentist know right away if a filling or crown is causing you pain, as replacement should be prompt to prevent long lasting damage.
What’s in Your Mouthwash?
Long term use of certain over the counter mouthwashes can actually contain acids that can worsen tooth sensitivity if you have exposed dentin, which is the middle layer of your teeth. The acid will further damage the dentin. If your mouthwash is giving you tooth sensitivity, ask your dentist about a natural fluoride solution.
Highly acidic foods can also give you tooth sensitivity. If you eat a lot of citrus fruits, tomatoes and other foods with high acid content, they could be wearing away at the enamel of your teeth, causing sensitivity to the dentin.
Rules for Sensitive Teeth
Continue to follow a good brushing and flossing routine to maintain the good health of your teeth. Use a soft bristle brush and brush gently. Try desensitizing toothpaste. There are several different brands for sensitive teeth. With regular use, you should notice a difference in the degree of sensitivity. You may have to try several different brands before you find the best one for you.
If you have any questions concerning a newly sensitive tooth, contact our office today!