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Tooth Sensitivity: Causes, Treatments, and Lifestyle Changes

Author: Katie MacMillan


On a hot day, it can be incredibly refreshing to sit down and have some ice cream. However, if your teeth are sensitive to cold, this may not be the case. But what causes tooth sensitivity? How can it be treated? Are there ways to prevent this sensitivity?


Enamel covers the outside of your teeth. This thin layer protects your teeth from common acts such as chewing and consuming hot or cold foods (WebMD, n.d.). Tooth sensitivity is due to loss of enamel, which exposes the inner core of your tooth called dentin (Cirino, 2021). Within the dentin there are nerves which can induce pain when irritated by cold foods (Cirino, 2021). There are many ways enamel can be lost, including from cavities, tooth decay, or gum disease (Cirino, 2021).


Tooth sensitivity can be quite uncomfortable but luckily, there are ways to reduce the discomfort. In terms of home remedies, saltwater or other rinses can be used, as well as capsaicin mouthwash, or even a turmeric rub (Cirino, 2021). Your health care provider may also provide a prescription for NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Toothpastes formulated for sensitive teeth can also help (Cirino, 2021).


There are also ways to prevent tooth sensitivity by reducing the erosion of your enamel and improving your oral hygiene. Firstly, changing your toothbrush regularly can improve your oral health. It is best to go for one with soft bristles if your teeth are sensitive. Acidic foods and drinks can wear down enamel as well, so avoiding these when possible may also help (Cirino, 2021).


Most importantly, it is important to talk to your dentist about your concerns. They will be able to discuss treatment plants and identify the cause of the sensitivity.



References


Cirino, E. (2021, June 10). Why is my tooth sensitive to hot and cold? causes, remedies. Healthline. Retrieved November 22, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/health/tooth-sensitive-to-hot-and-cold#causes-of-tooth-sensitivity.


WebMD. (n.d.). Tooth enamel: Erosion and restoration. WebMD. Retrieved November 22, 2021, from https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/tooth-enamel-erosion-restoration#1-2.