Patients visiting the Yuba City Dentistry Group for a check up are usually asked if they have experienced any new tooth sensitivity or dental changes since their last exam. Tooth sensitivity is a problem that doesn’t affect all patients, but our dentists and hygienists ask because sometimes tooth sensitivity is an indicator of a more serious dental issue that needs to be resolved by our dental professionals.
Why Do Teeth Become Sensitive?
Sometimes teeth become sensitive to heat or cold due to gum recession. Brushing too hard and flossing incorrectly or infrequently leads to aggravated gum tissue, often causing the gums to shrink back or recede. This leaves the tooth root exposed and sensitive to temperature extremes, either hot or cold. Poor oral hygiene also leads to gum recession, as do lip piercings and tobacco use, whether it’s chewed or smoked.
Tooth sensitivity also occurs when tooth enamel is eroded. If the enamel is thin or has a cavity, the tooth is easily affected by heat and cold. Some dental procedures may also make a tooth temporarily sensitive, but this condition generally disappears when the mouth is healed.
How to Prevent Tooth Sensitivity
Regular visits twice a year to your Yuba City Dental Group for exams and cleanings, along with a good daily oral care regimen at home are the best way to prevent tooth sensitivity. Also, follow these tips to avoid the problem:
- Brush at least twice a day and daily floss every tooth! Brush gently in a circular motion with a soft bristle toothbrush. Brush with care along the gum line to avoid gum recession.
- Use a dentist recommended toothpaste for sensitive teeth, if needed. Avoid abrasive toothpastes, such as those used for “tooth whitening,” that rely on heavy doses of silicates and are essentially sandpaper paste.
- Cut back or eliminate sugary or acidic drinks that wear down the enamel through bacterial action or erosion. Drink water instead!
- After eating or drinking acidic substances, rinse your mouth with water before brushing your teeth to minimize enamel breakdown.
- If you do have gum recession and experience sensitivity, some studies show that using a fluoride mouthrinse can help remineralize the teeth, eliminating “soft spots.”
Over time, these small tips add up and help protect your teeth for years to come. If you experience tooth sensitivity, speak to our friendly Yuba City family dentists during your next appointment or schedule a visit today by calling 530-671-4384 or contacting us via our website.