Tooth sensitivity is defined as discomfort in one or multiple teeth triggered by cold, hot, sour, or sweet foods/drinks, and even from breathing in cool air. This pain is sudden, sharp, and shoots deep to the nerve endings of the tooth. Cold sensitive teeth occur when the nerves of the tooth become exposed, resulting from either receding gum lines of deterioration of tooth enamel.
Cold sensitive teeth can be caused by a variety of factors, both internally and externally. Internally, disease or tooth decay, plaque buildup, and gum disease can make your teeth more sensitive to cold. Externally, brushing too hard, overusing whitening products, ingesting food or drinks with high acidity, and tooth grinding can expose the nerves of the teeth and make them more sensitive to cold.
Many people have more than one cause to their sensitive teeth and sometimes one leads to another. For example, grinding your teeth affects both the enamel and nerve endings, which can also lead to tooth decay or tooth disease. Brushing too hard affects the gum line and receding gum lines are a cause of tooth sensitivity. One factor that cannot really be controlled is age. Tooth sensitivity is actually highest in people between the ages of 25 and 30.
Identifying the cause of your tooth sensitivity will help you when finding a treatment that words best for you. There are various treatment options but the first and most important step you can take is that of prevention. By maintaining good oral health, you can prevent plaque buildup and tooth decay. Here are a few tips to help prevent and treat cold sensitive teeth:
• When brushing, use soft bristled brushes and brush more gently to protect the gum line.
• Try to monitor the acidity in the foods and drinks you consume as foods/drinks with high acidity can affect the tooth enamel.
• Be mindful of and try to prevent tooth grinding or clenching your teeth. Consider wearing a mouth guard when you go to sleep at night.
• Visit your dentist on a regular basis and keep up to date on your cleanings.
• Try changing your toothpaste to one made for sensitive teeth. Many toothpaste brands are made especially for sensitive teeth.
• Use fluoridated dental mouth rinse and other products can help to alleviate the sensitivity.
If you are experiencing sensitivity due to cold, it is important that you do not ignore this pain. Tooth sensitivity can be the sign of something more serious such as cavities. See a dental professional to rule out more serious causes and to discuss possible options for pain relief.