Tooth sensitivity can range from mild irritation that occurs when one eats or drinks hot, cold or sweet foods and beverages to chronic, constant pain that is always there regardless of what you eat or drink. Most patients think sensitive teeth are the result of tooth decay and can come up when one neglects his or her oral health.
There are many causes to one getting sensitive teeth. Tooth decay is one of the causes. Heredity is another cause. Cracked or chipped teeth and poor oral health are other potential causes. What these causes all have in common is they are all the result of compromised, or damaged tooth enamel.
What is Tooth Enamel?
Tooth enamel is the hard, translucent outer covering of each tooth. It gives teeth the strength to withstand constant, demanding use when eating, biting, chewing, clenching and grinding. It also protects the inside of the tooth from getting penetrated with germs and bacteria. While one’s natural teeth do get worn down as one reached advanced years from the many years of wear and tear, it is the enamel that prolongs the life and usefulness of teeth despite the many years of use and abuse teeth get. It is crucial for teeth health.
Tooth enamel, though it is considered as one of the strongest parts of the body, can become damaged and less effective. Trauma to the teeth, harsh teeth brushing, inadequate or infrequent tooth cleaning or not cleaning the teeth frequently. In some cases, the over-use of teeth bleaching agents can weaken enamel. When this strong, protective tooth barrier becomes compromised, the inner, important, vulnerable and sensitive part of the tooth become exposed to the air, germs and bacteria from the outside. Sensitive teeth are the result as the nerves inside the tooth are exposed and irritated.
The Importance of Good Oral Hygiene
Tooth enamel is bolstered and strengthened through good oral hygiene. The only exception is when one’s tooth sensitivity is the result of weak enamel from heredity. A good oral hygiene routine includes daily teeth brushing and flossing to remove plaque, germs and bacteria from in between and off the surface of teeth. A fluoride toothpaste is also recommended as this ingredient boosts the strength of enamel.
When germs and bacteria from unclean food particles get trapped in the mouth, they can attach to the surface of teeth and turn into plaque. This plaque emits a byproduct that eats away at tooth enamel. When the enamel is destroyed, the plaque can infiltrate the delicate, inner parts of the tooth where the nerves and blood vessels reside. If the tooth “pulp” or center of the tooth, a root canal is often necessary in order to save the tooth. For patients with naturally weak enamel, there are specific toothpastes available specifically designed for sensitive teeth.
Good oral hygiene helps keep the tooth enamel strong and healthy, making it less likely susceptible to breaking, chipping, cracking, scratching or damage from tooth decay.
Tooth sensitivity is not something to be ignored, especially if it causing one great pain and if it is a long-lasting, constant issue as they can be indicators of an infection or another dental health condition. If you’re concerned with your sensitive teeth, contact your dentist today to schedule an appointment.