Sensitive Teeth: What are the Causes, Symptoms and Treatments?

If the taste of ice cream or a sip of hot coffee causes pain, sensitive teeth may be to blame.

In terms of oral issues, suffering from sensitive teeth (also known as dentin hypersensitivity) is a very common problem. Many people suffer from the discomfort that is caused by this particular condition with simple, everyday tasks like eating and drinking greatly affected. Even brushing and flossing your teeth can be a painful experience.

So, what are the causes of sensitive teeth, what are the symptoms and what treatments are available if you find yourself suffering?

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What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

To understand the causes of sensitive teeth, we need to take a closer look inside the mouth and journey deep below the gum line. Only then will we get to the root of the problem.

In a healthy mouth, a layer of enamel protects the crowns of your teeth; this is the part that’s visible above the gum line. Under your gum line sits a layer of cementum, a specialised calcified substance covering the root of the tooth.

Beneath both the enamel and the cementum is dentine. Dentine is less dense than enamel and cementum and contains microscopic hollow canals known as tubules. When the underlying dentine loses its protective covering of enamel or cementum, these tubules allow hot, cold, acidic or sticky substances to reach the nerves and cells inside the tooth.

Once the dentine in your mouth is exposed it can result in hypersensitivity. This causes a sharp pain around the roots of the teeth. There are numerous reasons for dentine to become exposed.

Naturally Sensitive Teeth

Some people have naturally sensitive teeth. This is due to thinner layers of enamel.

Receding Gums

Often caused by poor oral health, your gums can begin to retract from the surface of your teeth exposing the surface of the roots. This can lead to sensitivity and, in extreme cases, tooth loss.

Receding gums can be caused by heavy smoking, dental plaque build-up or aggressive brushing. Other causes include illnesses such as HIV and diabetes, as well as hormonal changes in women.  

Erosion of Enamel

Over time, the enamel on your teeth can be worn away. There are several causes, including:

  • Brushing teeth too hard
  • Using a hard toothbrush
  • Consuming acidic foods and beverages

In some cases, conditions such as gastroparesis and bulimia can cause the enamel on your teeth to wear down. This is due to the stomach acid contained in vomit coming into regular contact with your teeth.

Broken Teeth

When a tooth is chipped or broken, the dentine within can become exposed. This will likely lead to extreme sensitivity in one particular tooth or area of the mouth. Tooth decay or a crack in a tooth can also lead to increased sensitivity.

What are the Symptoms of Sensitive Teeth?

Sensitive teeth can cause pain, usually characterised by short, painful stings at the root of the tooth or gum on a regular basis. These symptoms can come and go with levels of discomfort ranging from mild to intense.  

The symptoms of sensitive teeth can be triggered by what you eat and drink. Extremes in temperature and certain food and drink types can be the most troublesome. Common triggers include:

  • Hot foods and beverages
  • Cold foods and beverages
  • Overly sweet foods and beverages
  • Acidic foods and beverages

What is the Treatment for Sensitive Teeth?

If you have your original, natural teeth, you can suffer from hypersensitivity. However, there are treatments for sensitive teeth, one of which can be achieved by simply improving your oral hygiene routine.

As you grow older, the chances of your teeth becoming more sensitive increases. That’s why you must take good care of your oral health.

The simplest way to improve your oral health is to brush your teeth properly at least twice a day for two minutes. For best results, use a soft or ultra-soft toothbrush and an effective, good quality toothpaste.

You can also increase your oral health by flossing after brushing and rinsing your mouth with bluem® mouthwash.

If your symptoms become chronic or you cannot find the cause yourself, visit your dentist or dental hygienist. 

Add Bluem® to Your Daily Routine

As maintaining good oral health is a great way to prevent sensitive teeth, it’s vital that you have the right products to fight off the negative effects of conditions such as dental plaque build-up, inflamed gums and halitosis.

With its revolutionary, oxygen-enriched formula containing honey, lactoferrin and xylitol, bluem® allows you to actively combat poor oral problems and comes highly recommended by dentists around the world.

View our complete product range here.

Remember; healthy mouth, healthy body.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can smoking cause sensitive teeth?

Yes. Smoking can cause inflammation in your mouth as well as your body. Inflammation can cause sensitive teeth. We advise you to stop smoking or at least use our products on a daily bases.

Can my reducing enamel cause sensitive teeth?

Sensitive teeth can be caused by a decrease in enamel. Your teeth will be less protected which can make them more sensitive. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist how to deal with this problem.