Teeth sensitivity is a common problem, and though it can be caused by a cavity or abscessed tooth, it can be caused by a number of other factors as well. The foods you eat can play a part even if your tooth is not damaged, and even the way you brush can make your teeth more sensitive. The good news is that this sensitivity can often be alleviated simply by changing certain habits.
Believe it or not, it is possible to brush too vigorously. If you brush too hard you can scrape away your teeth's protective enamel over time, which exposes your teeth's dentin and leaves them more sensitive to heat and cold. Brushing is supposed to clear away food particles, and you don't need to scrub hard to do it. If you have food in between your teeth, don't brush harder to get to it; that's what flossing is for. If you can, switch to a soft-bristle brush.
2. Teeth Grinding
Grinding your teeth can end up causing the same sort of problems as over-brushing, and this may be a little harder to fix. It may be a habit that's hard to break, or you may grind your teeth in your sleep. Ask your dentist about a mouth guard to help protect your teeth at night. You can often get one custom fit to your bite, which won't be uncomfortable.
3. Acidic Foods
Acidic foods cause problems in two ways: they more easily eat away at your teeth's enamel, and they are more painful when they touch any exposed nerves. If you eat acidic foods frequently, cut back for about a week to see if the problem improves. This should give your saliva time to refresh your enamel. Specifically, cut down on foods like tomato sauces, lemons, kiwis, pickles and grapefruits.
4. Tooth-Whitening Toothpaste
Tooth-whitening toothpaste — as well as many mouthwashes — use certain chemicals that your teeth might be sensitive to in order to change your teeth's color. Remember that the color of your teeth does not necessarily tell how healthy they are, so if your toothpaste is causing you pain, switch to a non-whitening kind. If you're interested in getting your teeth whitened, your dentist can probably provide a less painful (and faster) option.
5. Excessive Plaque
A little plaque often isn't a big deal, especially if you brush well and frequently. But as plaque builds up it starts to wear away at your enamel, which in turn makes your teeth more sensitive. The solution to this is simply good dental hygiene. Brush and floss thoroughly and regularly, and see a dentist like The Dental Bar for semi-annual checkups.