If you find that drinking very hot or very cold things makes you uncomfortable or you wince each time you have to floss or brush your teeth, you probably have tooth sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity can get in the way of a everyday life, but what many people don't know is that they could be responsible for their own discomfort. Go through your dental regimen to find out whether you have any of these habits that cause tooth sensitivity.
Brushing with too much force or using an overly-hard toothbrush will wear down your tooth enamel over time. This means that your dental nerves will be closer to the surface, making you more likely to react to extreme food temperatures. When cleaning your teeth, more force doesn't translate to cleaner teeth. Instead, pick out a soft-bristled brush and brush gently but thoroughly for a proper clean.
2. Eating high-acid foods
Your protective tooth enamel is primarily made up of calcium. When you eat high-acid foods such as citrus fruits, pickles, red and white wines, fruit juices and others, the enamel softens and becomes prone to thinning. This is why you're advised not to brush your teeth immediately after consuming high-acid foods. Instead, you can rinse your mouth and wait a few minutes for your enamel to harden before brushing. If you already have tooth sensitivity, high-acid foods can cause further aggravation to your nerves.
3. Using tooth-whitening kits/toothpastes
Using at-home tooth-whitening kits or toothpastes with whitening products can make your teeth more sensitive. If you notice sensitivity soon after switching products, check to see whether you new product has whitening agents and switch to one that doesn't. Instead, talk to your dentist to schedule a dental cleaning or whitening that will be safe for your teeth.
4. Grinding teeth
Teeth grinding is a nervous tick some people have that wears down the tooth enamel over time. This brings the dentin closer to the surface and may expose the microscopic tubules which lead to the dental nerves, making you more prone to tooth sensitivity. You can talk to the dentist about getting a mouth-guard, particularly if you don't know the reason for your tooth-grinding or you do it in your sleep. These guards can be customised for your bite to reduce discomfort.
5. Using mouthwash too often
Just as with whitening kits and toothpastes, over-the-counter rinses and mouthwashes contain alcohol and other agents which can wear down your enamel and make your teeth more sensitive over time. You can switch your regular product with no-alcohol neutral fluoride rinses if you have to use a rinse. Otherwise, proper brushing and flossing is sufficient for good oral hygiene.
Look into regular family dental services to ensure your teeth are being well taken care of.