Q: Why are my teeth sensitive when I drink something cold or sweet?
Tooth sensitivity probably affects as many as 1 in 3 adults. Eating or drinking foods that are sweet, cold, hot or very acidic will trigger the sensitivity, but why does this happen? Ideally, a nice thick layer of enamel covers the underlying dentin layer in a tooth. The dentin layer is the part of the tooth that is closest to the nerve inside. The dentin contains pores or tubes that run from the outside of the tooth to the nerve. When the dentin is exposed, these tubes can be stimulated by certain foods.
The dentin is also usually protected by the gum tissue. Over time however, several things can happen in our mouth to cause sensitivity.
1. The enamel can wear and become thinner, thus providing less protection to the dentin.
2. The gums can recede due to gum disease or loss of surrounding teeth.
3. Brushing teeth aggressively can also cause slight gum recession.
4. Grinding the teeth (which seems to be very common these days) can cause cracking and sensitivity!
So what can you do about it?
First of course, find out what the cause is – a dental professional can help you with this. We can often apply a varnish or bonding material to protect exposed areas of the teeth. We may also prescribe a high- fluoride toothpaste.
You can also try using a soft toothbrush or a toothpaste specially formulated to help reduce sensitivity.
If you would like to speak to Dr. Sherman about tooth sensitivity or if you have any other dental concern, please call us at 516-538-1100. We will gladly arrange a free consultation to help you make better dental decisions.
Remember, we have evening and Saturday hours to help you work around your busy schedule. We are also here to help you if you have a dental emergency.
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