Tooth sensitivity is a condition that occurs when your teeth react with pain to hot or cold foods and drinks, cold air, or sweets. Although the pain normally lasts a few seconds, it can be highly irritating. Many people think that teeth can become sensitive only because of cavities. But you should know that there are other factors that can make your teeth sensitive. In this article, we have gathered five common causes of teeth sensitivity that you should never ignore.
1. Tooth decay
Indeed, tooth decay, also known as cavities and caries, is deemed the most common cause of teeth sensitivity. Cavities occur when bacteria in your mouth produce too many acids that wear out your tooth enamel. As a result, the inner sensitive layers of the tooth may become exposed to various irritants.
If left untreated, a cavity can become deeper and reach the nerve endings. In this case, you may start experiencing a severe toothache. That’s why it is extremely important to visit your dentist twice a year for an examination and treat cavities as soon as they develop.
2. Gum recession
Gum recession is a condition that occurs when gums shrink under the impact of some factors. This condition usually makes your teeth look longer and leads to teeth sensitivity when the roots of the tooth (that are less protected than the upper parts of the tooth) become exposed.
The most common causes of gum recession include poor oral hygiene, gum disease, aggressive tooth brushing, and smoking. If you have noticed that your gums shrink, you need to contact a dentist. Without timely and effective treatment, gum recession can lead to tooth loss.
3. Enamel wear
Unfortunately, tooth enamel can wear out over time despite the fact that it is the hardest substance in the body. The most common factors that can cause enamel wear include:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Aggressive tooth brushing
- Increased consumption of acidic foods and drinks
- Teeth grinding (bruxism)
- Acid reflux and eating disorders
- Lip and tongue piercing
When tooth enamel becomes worn out, it can cause tooth sensitivity, chips and cracks on the teeth, yellowish teeth, and an increased risk of tooth decay. You may undergo dental bonding or get dental crowns to protect your teeth and prevent further wear out of your tooth enamel.
4. Tooth fracture
There are a lot of factors that can lead to tooth fractures. For example, you can break a tooth while playing contact sports or eating some hard foods. People often break their teeth when they open bottles with the help of their teeth and simply use them as a tool.
The severity of a toothache depends on the part of the tooth that has been fractured. If you have broken a small part of the tooth, you may experience teeth sensitivity and an increased risk of tooth decay. But if the fracture is significant, you may suffer from severe pain. In any case, a fractured tooth should be examined and restored by a dentist.
5. Dental abscess
A dental abscess is a condition that occurs when the infection gets inside of the tooth and leads to the development of pus. A sac with pus can develop in the tooth or in the gums. Symptoms of a dental abscess may include:
- Tooth sensitivity
- Bad breath
- Unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Gum and cheek swelling
If you have noticed at least some of these symptoms, you need to make an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible. In some cases, a sac can rupture and this can lead to the spread of pus to your jaw.