Do certain foods cause you the experience a sudden, sharp flash of pain that goes deep into your tooth? Most people experience tooth sensitivity at some point during their life. To better understand tooth sensitivity, you first need to get familiar with the anatomy of a tooth. The outside of the tooth is covered in a hard protective layer called enamel. Below the enamel is a porous layer called dentin. The dentin contains microscopic tubules that go straight to the pulp layer of the tooth, where the nerves and blood vessels are housed.
When the enamel layer wears away, the porous dentin is exposed. This allows the hot, cold, sweet or sour substances to enter the tooth and reach the nerves. Many factors are involved in the wearing away of the enamel, they are:
- Teeth grinding
- Tooth decay
- Cracked or damaged teeth
- Tooth whitening
- Acidic foods and drinks
- Plaque buildup
- Brushing too hard or with a hard-bristled toothbrush
- Recent cleanings or dental work
To combat tooth sensitivity take the following steps:
- Brush with toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth
- Before you go to bed, spread a thin layer of the toothpaste over any affected teeth.
- Avoid tartar control toothpaste
- Use a fluoridated mouth rinse
- Avoid acidic foods and drinks
- Avoid smoking or using smokeless tobacco
If you try all of these treatments and still have sensitive teeth there may be an underlying condition. Consult with your dentist to determine the cause and devise a treatment plan.