If you’re like most people, you probably take your teeth for granted. You brush and floss them every day, and you rarely give them a second thought. But if you suddenly start to experience tooth sensitivity, it can be a real annoyance — not to mention an indication that something may be wrong. In this post, we’ll explain what causes tooth sensitivity. So if your teeth have been bugging you lately, keep reading.
Cavities are responsible for most cases of sensitive teeth. And since you can’t see your teeth, that means that it’s important to know how your toothbrush is doing its job. Brushing twice a day is great, but if you’re using a hard-bristled toothbrush, you may be doing more harm than good.
As a general rule, your toothbrush should have a firm but gentle grip and a rounded head so that you can reach all of your teeth without missing any spots. If you’re not sure what kind of toothbrush to get, ask your dentist for some recommendations.
- Injury from Braces
It’s also possible to suffer from tooth sensitivity if you have braces. This is especially true when you first get them or switch up your onboarding routine by switching out your manual toothbrush for an electric one. The changing metal in your mouth can cause various painful problems in both cases.
If you have braces, ask your dentist Austin tx if you should be doing anything to protect your teeth from sensitivity. If not, try switching back to a manual toothbrush to see if the problem is gone.
Some people also find that certain foods affect them more with braces. If you need to, try limiting these foods until after you get your braces removed.
- Overusing Mouthwash
Overusing mouthwash might sound like a good idea — after all, it can eliminate bad breath and even help fight tooth decay. But some over-the-counter mouthwashes contain alcohol or other chemicals that can cause pain and sensitivity in the mouth.
If you think your mouthwash is causing tooth sensitivity, switch to a different brand or dilute it with water before using it again. And try limiting the amount of time you swish it around in your mouth. It’s better to give your teeth brief periods of exposure than to leave them exposed for too long.
- Brushing Too Hard
It might come as a surprise, but many people brush their teeth too hard. Believe it or not, that can cause serious pain and sensitivity issues in the long term. If you’ve been brushing your teeth too aggressively for years, the chances are good that they’re suffering from some level of tooth decay. And if so, you’ll want to switch up your routine.
Instead of brushing less, many people change how they brush their teeth by using a harder bristle toothbrush or an electric one. Dentistry says both methods allow you to remove more plaque and reduce the risk of cavity formation. But both can also cause increased sensitivity if you use them incorrectly.
You can also reduce your toothbrush’s bristle hardness without making it too soft by replacing it more often than recommended (every three to four months instead of every other month). Electric toothbrushes should be replaced annually, if not sooner. You know that you need to replace the head when the bristles start splaying out.
- Exposure to Acidic Beverages
Beer, citrus fruits, and carbonated drinks contain acid that can cause tooth sensitivity. This is most likely to happen when you drink these beverages very cold or quickly. That’s because the cold temperatures make it difficult for your teeth to protect themselves from the acids in these drinks, and drinking them too quickly gives your teeth little time to recover between exposures.
If you are very susceptible to tooth sensitivity, consider avoiding acidic drinks altogether or using straws when drinking them. You can also rinse your mouth with water after drinking these beverages, which will help flush the acid away from your teeth. This is especially important if you’re unable to brush right away. Your dentist should help if the sensitivity does not stop even after you stop acidic foods intake.
- Cold Foods
Like drinking very cold beverages, eating too many ice cubes or other frozen foods can cause tooth sensitivity, it gives the teeth little time to recover between exposures, causing more pain over time.
If you eat many cold foods, dentistry recommends try switching up your routine by eating them at room temperature instead of frozen or chilled. You can also try eating them with a spoon instead of directly from the container, as this will give your teeth more time to recover between exposures.
- Hot Foods
Like cold foods, eating too many hot or spicy foods can cause tooth sensitivity. This is especially true if you eat them quickly. Spicy foods are usually very difficult to eat slowly because they’re so delicious. But it’s worth trying if you want to prevent painful pain while wearing your braces.
Instead of eating spicy foods quickly, take small bites and chew each one thoroughly before swallowing. You can also try preparing the spiciest foods using less spice (or none at all!). This might take some getting used to, but it’s worth it for your braces’ health. Ask your dentist Austin tx what foods are best for you to prevent tooth sensitivity.
- Exposure to Sticky Foods
Some people are very susceptible to developing braces-related tooth sensitivity, but it’s generally not due to the foods they eat. Instead, it’s more likely to be caused by sticky food or drinks that get stuck between their teeth or braces and cause inflammation. Sticky candies like taffy are the worst offenders in this regard.
If it’s been a while since you brushed, try cleaning between your teeth with dental floss or an interdental cleaner. This will help remove any stuck-on food or residue that might be causing sensitivity.
Tooth sensitivity is caused by various things that you might not have expected. If you’re experiencing a lot of pain, consider trying a softer bristle brush, use an electric toothbrush, or call our office. You can also try using room temperature foods instead of cold ones to reduce their effects on your teeth and give yourself more time to recover after eating them.