The work week is over, it’s Friday night and you decide to celebrate with a great big ice cream sundae. Sounds great, until you take that first bite and—OUCH! the cold hurts your teeth! So you decide to warm up your mouth and have a sip of nice, hot, freshly brewed tea and……NO WAY JOSE, that hurts too!

Tooth sensitivity is a common problem, and you can feel it with either hot or cold food or beverages and sometimes even when you breathe cold air or even touch a sensitive tooth. No matter how clean you keep your tongue with your TUNG Brush and Gel, no matter how diligent you are about brushing, your teeth can become sensitized in several ways.

What causes my teeth to be so sensitive?

When the hard enamel on the surface of your teeth wears down or when your gums recede, the tiny tubes beneath the dentin (that’s the layer of tissue right below the enamel) become exposed – think of nerve central not having anything protecting it! Any contact with those exposed nerves can cause pain, be it from cold, heat or touch.

How do those nerves become exposed?

The enamel of the teeth can become worn down from any number of causes, including the consumption of too many acidic beverages, such as colas and citrus juices, the use of harsh and abrasive toothpastes, bulimia, or acid reflux disorders.

How can I reduce the sensitivity of my teeth?

Think about what you expose your teeth to and be logical. For example, if you use a hard-bristled toothbrush, switch to soft bristles to avoid wearing down the tooth’s surface. Think about it, when you were a child the dentist always gave you a soft-bristled brush when you left the office – for good reason! The same goes for the type of toothpaste you use – some tartar-control toothpastes and some tooth-whitening products can erode the surface of the teeth as well. Also, cut down on the acidic foods and beverages you consume.

When should I see my dentist and what can he/she do to help?

If you have pain or sensitivity for more than three days, it is wise to see a professional. There are times that a cavity can cause the same kind of feeling as an overly sensitive tooth, so it is best to have your healthcare provider evaluate the situation. Your dentist may apply desensitizing or filling materials. There are also special desensitizing toothpastes your dentist may recommend. Be sure to follow all instructions to prevent further damage and problems that may occur later on.

Studies show that sensitive teeth affect over 40 million Americans, so you are not alone! By being informed, though, there are steps you can take to be able to enjoy your food and drink without pain. So take care of your oral health, see your dentist regularly, and keep that tongue clean! 😊