Tooth sensitivity is a real thing everyone experiences at some point. Hot spicy foods and ice cream are just some food items that could trigger tooth pain in a person with sensitive teeth and gums. 

Sometimes the tooth pain will go away on its own, but not always. If you continue to experience chronic tooth sensitivity each day, you probably have an oral health issue that must get addressed immediately. Otherwise, the tooth pain will get progressively worse.

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

Each tooth has an outer protective layer called enamel. The two layers beneath the enamel are the cementum and dentin. Dentin is the hard bony tissue that makes up most of a tooth. Cementum is a calcium-based substance covering the root and nerves of the tooth. 

Tooth sensitivity is a result of eroded or deteriorated enamel. If the protective layer no longer shields the dentin and cementum of an affected tooth, any intake of hot, cold, sugary, spicy, or acidic foods will negatively stimulate its nerves. That is why dentists and oral hygienists advocate protecting tooth enamel from decay. 

Here are the ten primary causes of enamel erosion leading to tooth sensitivity:

1) Bad Oral Hygiene

Do you brush and floss your teeth every day? If not, it could explain why you have tooth sensitivity. 

You need to improve your daily oral hygiene to protect your tooth enamel from erosion due to the foods you eat. Most dentists recommend brushing and flossing your teeth after each meal to prevent tooth decay. 

2) Bad Genes

Sometimes you may not be responsible for your eroded tooth enamel because it is possible to inherit thin tooth enamel from your parents. Thin enamel will diminish more quickly unless you practice good oral hygiene religiously.

Bad genetics is not something you can escape. So the best advice is to watch your diet and brush and floss daily.  

3) Sugary and Acidic Foods

Certain foods and beverages are lethal to tooth enamel, such as any foods with amounts of high sugar and acidity. If these substances stick to your teeth, they will slowly erode and weaken the enamel. You won’t notice the effects until the day you feel tooth sensitivity for the first time. 

Eliminate or reduce your intake of fruit juices, coffee, soda, candy, sweets, and anything else sugary or acidic. 

4) Old Age

People use their teeth every day for chewing food. But as with most parts of the human body, the teeth wear down naturally as you age. 

Good nutrition and oral hygiene can slow down the natural wear of the teeth, but most people won’t be able to stop tooth wear completely. So the best thing you can do is practice good nutrition and oral hygiene as early as possible. 

5) Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding is an unconscious and unhealthy habit affecting many people worldwide. There is a lot of pressure and wear put on the surface of your teeth if you grind them. 

Continuous teeth grinding will wear down the tooth enamel. A doctor or dentist may recommend wearing a mouthguard when you sleep and during the day if necessary. 

6) Dry Mouth

Do you suffer from chronic dry mouth? It is a condition where someone doesn’t produce enough saliva in their mouth to help soften and break down food particles. The digestive system depends on saliva to help food particles digest correctly.  

In addition, you need saliva to absorb some of the acidic byproducts in your mouth that come from foods and oral bacteria. Otherwise, the acidity levels in your mouth will be higher than usual, which means more enamel erosion. 

7) Prescription Medications / Over-the-Counter Drugs

Certain prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs can cause you to develop dry mouth because they reduce the production of saliva. And as you just learned, dry mouth can lead to high acidity levels in the mouth and an increase in tooth enamel erosion. 

Stop using any medication that causes you to develop a dry mouth. Consult with your doctor for more information and to find a better alternative medication. 

8) Tooth Misalignment

Tooth misalignment can happen because of an oral injury or poor teeth growth. Not only can tooth misalignment affect your smile, but it can also cause the misaligned teeth to rub against other teeth. Then it will erode the enamel of the teeth from constant rubbing.

Braces would probably be the best solution in this situation. But first, you’ll have to visit a dentist or orthodontist for a closer examination and diagnosis. 

9) Low Nutrient Intake

Tooth enamel depends on vital nutrients to stay strong and durable. One of the most critical nutrients for preserving the strength of tooth enamel is calcium. Therefore, you must increase your calcium intake if you are not consuming enough calcium in your diet. 

Other essential nutrients for strengthening tool enamel include Vitamins D, C, A, and K. 

10) Acid Reflux Disease

Acid reflux is a digestive disease that causes some of the stomach acids from the lower esophagus to make their way back up through the esophagus and into your mouth. It exposes your enamel to more acidic content.  

Scheduling an appointment to visit a dentist office is the only viable solution for dealing with tooth sensitivity in the long term. But, in the meantime, there are things you can do at home to mitigate the pain and discomfort from tooth sensitivity temporarily. 

How to Fix Tooth Sensitivity

It is possible to reduce or eliminate tooth sensitivity before it worsens. Here are eight tips on how to proceed with this effort. 

1) Good Quality Toothpaste

Not all toothpaste is the same. Certain toothpaste products are formulated to target and relieve tooth sensitivity. One of the best and most expensive toothpaste products for treating sensitive teeth is Sensodyne.

Good quality toothpaste contains an active ingredient like stannous fluoride, which temporarily blocks the small holes in the worn dentin and enamel of your teeth. As a result, the sugars and acidic content of your foods won’t reach the nerves under the layers of your teeth.

2) Mouthguard

A mouthguard will protect your sensitive teeth while you sleep at night. If you visit a dentist, they can take personalized molds of your actual teeth and create a mouthguard made for your mouth. 

Avoid generic over-the-counter mouthguards because they could mess up the alignment of your teeth. 

3) Change Your Diet

A new diet regimen is essential for eliminating sensitive teeth and preventing tooth sensitivity in the future. 

Cut out all acidic and sugary foods, including sodas, coffee, and desserts. Fruit is healthy to eat, but it still has high acidic content. So we recommend you wash your mouth out after consuming fruit. 

4) Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is a technique for eliminating bacteria from your mouth with a natural ingredient like coconut oil. The natural properties of coconut oil can stop oral bacterial growth and plaque. Then your tooth enamel won’t be in as much danger. 

Make sure you use raw, virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil with no added ingredients. Put a tablespoon of the oil in your mouth and swish it around for a few minutes. Then, spit out the oil and rinse your mouth with warm water. 

5) Salt Water Mouthwash

You don’t have to rely on over-the-counter mouthwash products to clean your mouth. Instead, you can make your own mouthwash by mixing salt and water to create salt water. 

Rinsing your mouth with salt water will allow the PH levels in your mouth to balance out. After that, the alkaline levels will rise in your mouth and create an unsuitable environment for bacterial growth. 

6) Toothbrushes with Soft Bristles

Stiff bristles on a toothbrush are too abrasive against tooth enamel. Rather than cleaning away bacteria and food particles, solid bristles produce additional microscopic holes in the tooth enamel and dentin. Then your nerves will have more exposure to sugar and acidic content in your mouth. 

So try to use toothbrushes with soft bristles. These toothbrush products should indicate they are made for sensitive teeth on the packaging.  

7) Clove Essential Oil

Clove oil contains natural properties for reducing inflammation and bacteria overgrowth. If you mix clove oil with a healthy carrier oil like coconut oil and swish the mixture in your mouth, it will cause a numbing effect on your sensitive teeth. Then you won’t feel as much pain or discomfort. 

8) Garlic

Garlic contains antibacterial compounds called allicin. You could bite into half a garlic clove or sprinkle garlic powder on your food to help eliminate bacterial growth in your mouth. 

To treat a sensitive tooth with garlic directly, mix a garlic clove with warm water to produce a paste substance. Apply the paste to the sensitive tooth to help numb the pain. 

Find a Dentist Today

Do you need to find a dentist? Nicelocal.com is a website that lets you search for any business in your local community. Look for reputable dentists in your city by selecting the “Medical Centers” category or searching for dentists in the search bar.