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Temperature Sensitive Teeth – What are the causes and what can you do?

Many people suffer with the discomfort caused by temperature sensitive teeth on a daily basis, making it almost impossible to enjoy a warm cup of coffee or an ice cream on a hot summer’s day.

The truth is that a large number of people with tooth sensitivities eventually learn to live with the pain they experience every time they consume something hot or cold.

However, by understanding what causes tooth sensitivity to cold and hot temperatures, it’s easier to find ways to decrease the level of sensitivity you experience.

Sensitive Teeth - Dentist Claremont

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

Your teeth are covered in a protective coating called enamel which encapsulates the dentin found in the centre of the tooth and is made up of thousands of hollow tubes, each connecting to a nerve ending.

These nerve endings are extremely sensitive when exposed, and when hot or cold substances come into contact with the nerves, they trigger a significant pain response.

Therefore, it’s safe to say that if you’re experiencing tooth pain when drinking hot liquids, or cold ones for that matter, it’s a sign that there could be something more serious happening in your mouth that needs attention.

The following are all causes of sensitivity to temperature:

  • Cavities – Sensitivity to temperature is often a warning sign that a cavity has formed. A visit to the dentist is necessary in order to prevent the cavity from increasing in size
  • Receding gums – When gums begin to recede, dentin is exposed and consequently the nerve endings responsible for causing temperature sensitivity
  • Enamel erosion – Enamel is what protects your teeth and without it, not only are nerve endings exposed, but you are more susceptible to tooth decay
  • Other dental conditions – Gum disease, poor oral hygiene and excessive grinding of the teeth can all cause temperature sensitivity
  • Poor diet or habits – Diets high in sugar, overconsumption of acidic foods and beverages and smoking are all precursors to more serious dental issues like cavities and gum disease

How to Avoid Tooth Sensitivity

Whether you already experience sensitivity to hot and cold temperature, or would like to avoid it, we recommend you do the following:

  • Use desensitising toothpaste – Active ingredients in these toothpastes are designed to protect the nerves from exposure to sensations such as temperature
  • Brush correctly – Firstly, the type of toothbrush you use is important and hard isn’t always better. In fact, hard bristles can increase the rate at which your enamel erodes. Secondly, the way in which you brush matters. So, use a soft bristle toothbrush and hold your brush at a 45° angle and brush in gentle, circular motions
  • Avoid acidic foods and drinks – These can cause excessive damage to the enamel of your teeth. If you can’t avoid it, then make sure you brush your teeth as soon as possible afterwards
  • Wear a mouth guard – Many people are unaware that they grind their teeth while asleep. Wearing a mouth guard will protect your teeth from the friction caused by grinding

It’s important to remember that enamel does not regenerate and therefore, once it’s worn away, you will need to find alternate methods to treat the issue.

Cloud 9 Dentist in Claremont

We recommend regular visits with one of our dentists as this is the best way to identify potential issues with enough time to take action.

If you’re experiencing temperature sensitive teeth or would like to find out more about available treatments, please feel free to contact us.

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