Sep 04, 2018

Fall is here, which means all your favorite hot drinks like pumpkin spice lattes are here as well. When you take a sip of your favorite coffee or hot chocolate, do you feel a strange, sensitive feeling in your teeth? The same sensation can occur when you eat or drink really cold foods too. If this sounds like you, don’t worry! You’re not alone. About 1 in 8 people have tooth sensitivity. Read on to learn what tooth sensitivity is, why you may have it, and how you can help it from your trusted dentist in Sarasota.

What is tooth sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity happens when your tooth enamel deteriorates and becomes thinner, which doesn’t protect the tooth pulp and dentin from exposure to really hot or cold temperatures. The tooth pulp and dentin contain nerve endings that are incredibly sensitive so if they’re left exposed, you’ll experience some form of pain or discomfort.

What causes tooth sensitivity?

There are various causes of this condition out there, but your tooth sensitivity could be a result of:

  • Receding gums
  • Grinding your teeth during sleep
  • Chipped or fractured teeth
  • Tooth whitening
  • Orthodontics and fillings

All of these common causes expose the inside, more sensitive part of your tooth which is why you feel sensitivity when consuming foods with extreme temperatures.

What can I do about my sensitive teeth?

Since your teeth are sensitive because of thinner enamel, your main goal is to take care of your tooth enamel. When brushing, don’t brush too hard and use a soft-bristled brush. This will ensure you aren’t causing your teeth too much abrasion, where it actually hurts your enamel rather than helps it.

You can also avoid acidic foods and drinks because they can breakdown your tooth’s enamel. Instead, try to eat:

  • Fiber-rich fruits and veggies
  • Cheese
  • Milk
  • Low-fat yogurt

All of these foods help fight off acid and bacteria that can damage your teeth and they keep your mouth moist.

If you think grinding your teeth is causing your sensitivity, talk to your general dentist in Sarasota about getting fitted for a mouthguard. You can wear it at night to prevent grinding and clenching your teeth and save your enamel!

Something else that may contribute to your sensitivity is teeth whitening. If you’re whitening with bleach, take a break because sensitivity from bleaching is usually temporary.

The best thing you can do when experiencing tooth sensitivity is to talk to your local dentist. They will be able to recommend anything from toothpaste for sensitive teeth, to dental sealants to protect your teeth. You and your dentist will discuss your symptoms and get to the root of the problem to give you the relief you need.

Meet the dentist

Dr. Shanaka L. Weerasooriya is committed to creating long-term relationships with his patients by developing individualized treatment plans to meet their specific needs. He likes catching issues like tooth sensitivity while they are small during routine checkups to prevent bigger issues from occurring. He currently practices at Tarpon Shores Dental where he can be contacted through his website or by phone at (941) 256-7559.