By Dr Oh Xue Ling firstname.lastname@example.org
Why are my teeth sensitive?
One of the most common complains patients have when they visit their dentist is for sensitive teeth. “Why are my teeth sensitive?’ , they wonder. They will usually complain of a short sharp pain upon drinking cold/hot food and drinks or when eating sweet or acidic food.
What are the causes of sensitive teeth?
Our teeth are protected by a hard outer surface called enamel. Sensitivity occurs when the inner (dentine) surface of the tooth is exposed. This can happen due to a few causes:
- Aggressive and overzealous brushing, wearing down the hard enamel surface over time
- Gum disease resulting in receding gums, exposing the root surfaces
- Acidic diet e.g. soft drinks, lemon, vinegar, can dissolve away the hard outer surface and expose the inner dentine surface
- Broken or fractured tooth
- Tooth decay or faulty fillings
What should I do?
A simple check up at the dentist will determine the cause of your sensitive teeth, and advise treatment options accordingly. This can be either a filling, placing a fluoride varnish over sensitive areas, or more major treatments, depending on the underlying cause of sensitivity.
How to prevent ?
- Use a soft toothbrush to minimise wearing down of the enamel surface.
- Avoid overbrushing your teeth; consult your dentist on proper brushing techniques. Use gentle strokes, avoid using too much strength while brushing.
- Use products such as desensitising toothpaste or toothmousse.
- Regular brushing and flossing to prevent gum disease and decay.
- Reduce acidic food intake. Avoid brushing teeth immediately after eating acidic food and beverages.