Sensitive Teeth

  • Oct 12 2018

Is it possible to damage the enamel on my teeth by brushing too hard?

Everybody knows how important it is to practice good dental hygiene. One of the first things we teach small children is how to brush their teeth, hopefully starting them on a lifetime of careful attention to the care of their teeth. But, are we getting them started properly? As important as daily brushing is, if not done correctly, it can lead to what most people refer to as sensitive teeth.

Dental sensitivity is typically experienced when drinking hot or cold beverages, although pressure, certain foods and exposure to cold air can also result in the same type of pain or discomfort. The underlying cause is some sort of damage to the enamel, which is the hard outer layer of the tooth, or to the cementum, which is the layer that protects the root. Any sort of crack or wearing away of these layers exposes the nerves and can lead to hypersensitivity.

One of the ways that tooth enamel can be damaged is by overenthusiastic brushing. We want to brush thoroughly and long enough so as to remove as many food particles and as much plaque as possible, but it is very important to not brush too vigorously or with a side to side motion. A toothbrush with rigid bristles can also cause problems. To avoid damage to the enamel, dental professionals recommend using a toothbrush with soft bristles and brushing in a 45-degree angle, using gentle force.

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

Besides improper brushing techniques, there are other factors that can contribute to the breakdown of enamel and resulting tooth sensitivity. Some of the more common ones include:

  • Eating foods that are acidic, such citrus fruits, pickles and tomato sauce.
  • Drinking wine or carbonated beverages.
  • Grinding teeth, which can wear away the enamel.
  • Toothpaste and other products that contain whitening agents can create sensitivity.
  • Mouthwash and mouth rinses can contain alcohol or other substances that can be harmful to enamel.
  • Gum dise
  • Plague that is not removed can eventually damage the enamel.
  • Dental procedures
  • Injuries resulting in a chipped or cracked tooth
  • Older fillings that have decay around the edges

Avoiding tooth sensitivity is, of course, the preferred way to go and consistent brushing, flossing and regular dental visits for cleanings and routine exams will go a long way toward this. If, however, you do experience sensitive teeth, it is very treatable. Sometimes it will be temporary and only require minor lifestyle adjustments. For those with more long-term causes, your dentist will be able to recommend the best treatment options. Some of those may include:

  • Switching to a toothpaste that is formulated for sensitive teeth
  • Application, by your dentist, of a gel that contains fluoride and is designed to strengthen the enamel
  • Repair or replace old fillings or put in new ones to protect nerves that have been exposed
  • Dental sealants designed to reduce exposure and sensitivity

For causes that are more extensive or serious, your dentist may suggest gum surgery or a root canal.

If you are experiencing any issues with sensitive teeth or have questions about any of our services, whether dentistry or aesthetics, Forest Hills Dentistry is dedicated to delivering the highest quality services possible. We offer the latest and most current information and services to our patients with a new state-of-the-art facility in Forest Hills, Queens. Patient comfort, individualized care and complete satisfaction are our priority.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, you are invited to use our online form by clicking here.

Categories: Dental Health