Ahhhh, ice cream. The sheer delight of its sugary sweetness and cooling effect on a hot Oklahoma summer day is enough to make you wish it was at the top of the food pyramid. Of course, that sentiment can change in an instant the moment the “ice” in the ice cream hits a sensitive tooth. Suddenly, your delicious treat has turned into a frigid nightmare.
Is the pain just a sensitive tooth or something more?
There is usually the assumption that tooth sensitivity is the result of cavities, but that’s not necessarily the case. There can be many underlying causes of sensitive teeth.
Dentin, a layer of the tooth way beneath the enamel, contains tubes or holes that lead to the nerves and cells inside the tooth. When the protective enamel has been compromised, it’s easy for hot, cold, or sugary substances to get inside the tooth and cause sensitivity and pain. So, here are a few ideas to keep that from happening.
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush
It’s been mentioned before, but it deserves a review. Brushing with a medium or hard toothbrush is not necessary and can actually be detrimental to the health of your teeth. A toothbrush with hard bristles can wear down the enamel and cause the dentin to be exposed, causing pain.
Stave off gum disease
Gingivitis or periodontal disease occurs when plaque build-up in the mouth cause bacteria to grow which can result in gum and/or bone damage. This damage takes place over a period of time and can allow the same bacteria or food to come in contact with teeth roots and nerves, causing pain.
Watch your diet
The largest group of people that suffer from sensitive teeth is in the age range of 25-35. Why, you ask? People in this age group tend to eat more junk food, making themselves more vulnerable to sensitivity – it’s just that simple.
And watch your diet, again
Foods with high acid content can, over time, erode tooth enamel. Tomatoes, lemons, oranges, etc. all have high levels and acid and can contribute to tooth sensitivity.
Those undergoing whitening or bleaching procedures can have temporary sensitivity to temperature, pressure, or touch. It is typically due to some ingredients in the bleaching product and can last 24 – 48 hours.
Tooth sensitivity can be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause. You should always consult your dentist to determine the reason for your sensitivity and make recommendations for treatment.