A satisfying meal can quickly become excruciatingly painful if you have sensitive teeth. For example, imagine you are eating shaved ice when all of a sudden, your teeth begin to hurt from every angle.

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

Let's review the parts of a tooth to understand the causes of sensitive teeth better. The tooth has three layers: the dentin is the innermost layer, followed by the dentin and cementum, and finally, the dental pulp.

  • The outer layers (enamel and cementum) are usually harder and sturdier to protect the teeth from environmental threats. By limiting access to the whole tooth, these outer layers also help reduce the pain or tooth discomfort you might feel. The outer layer of the enamel also protects the tooth from acid in foods you eat.
  • The dental pulp is beneath the enamel, in the tooth's center. The pulp allows your teeth to be able to "feel."
  • Finally, the dentin is the mid-layer that forms most of the teeth. It sends the sensations through its network of hollow canals to the dental pulp.

Dentin plays a crucial part. Because it's the layer of the tooth that transmits sensation, the more exposed it is, the more sensitive your teeth feel.  These reasons for sensitive teeth can also differ.

Gum recession is a factor in some people's dental pain. Alternatively, dental decay has largely destroyed the enamel on your teeth. Another possibility is a general thinned-out exterior. What causes sensitive teeth will determine which home remedies for sensitive teeth you apply.

Gum recession can also expose the dentin, leading to hypersensitivity. Brushing too hard can also cause tooth sensitivity because it wears down the enamel. A recent dental procedure, such as a dental filling or teeth whitening session, can cause temporary tooth sensitivity.

The consumption of sugary and acidic foods allows the rapid growth of oral bacteria. If not addressed, it can deteriorate the enamel and cause tooth decay over time. A cavity can also cause tooth sensitivity due to exposure to the dentin. Teeth grinding and tooth fractures are two other causes of tooth sensitivity.

How is it Diagnosed?

Dentin hypersensitivity is typically self-diagnosis. Eating cold or hot food and drinks, sugary and sour food, breathing in cold air, and brushing are common triggers. When these activities cause sharp pain that worsens with pressure, your teeth are likely to be sensitive.

How to Treat Sensitive Teeth

Teeth sensitivity, fortunately, is treatable and usually resolves within a few weeks to a few months. A variety of treatments are also available on the dentist's recommendation. Desensitizing toothpaste, fluoride gel, crowns, inlays or bonding, surgical gum grafts, or root canals are common treatments for sensitive teeth.

  • Desensitizing toothpaste contains compounds that prevent pain from traveling from the tooth's surface to the nerve.
  • Fluoride gel strengthens the enamel. As a result, it is less likely to wear away, exposing the dentin. Aside from that, fluoride gel reduces the transmission of discomfort.
  • A crown, inlay, or bonding are the solutions to repair a decayed tooth.
  • If the root has lost gum tissue, a surgical gum graft will protect it and reduce sensitivity.
  • If the sensitivity has become severe and persistent, your dentist may advise you to have a root canal.

It is also wise to take precautions to avoid worsening tooth sensitivity.

Home Remedies

While dentin exposure generally causes sensitive teeth, getting the right solution still depends on its exact reason. These reasons include:

  • Enamel wear or enamel erosion
  • Cavities
  • Chipped tooth
  • Receding gums

Tooth sensitivity should go away once you treat the exact cause. And, for the most part, a visit to the dentist should take care of the issue. The more serious the reason, the sooner you should schedule an appointment.

But what if you only have mildly sensitive teeth? What if you don't have immediate access to a dentist? In that case, your sensitive teeth home remedies should tide you over for the time being. Meanwhile, here are some things you can do:

  • Use fluoride toothpaste. If you have thin enamel in its early stages, a fluoride treatment should help reverse the effects. As a result, your teeth will feel less sensitive. Even better, use one that contains a desensitizing agent. 
  • Gargle some saltwater. Saltwater is helpful for more than just a sore throat or canker sores in the throat. Its anti-inflammatory properties can also help to reduce any swelling. As a bonus, the salt can disinfect any areas of tooth decay.

Good Oral Hygiene is Crucial

Maintaining good oral hygiene practice helps ward off sensitivity. To maintain good dental health, you should brush, floss, and use mouthwash. You may choose to use a mouth guard if you grind your teeth. Consume food that is good for your teeth, such as celery, carrots, apples, and cheese, while avoiding those high in sugar or acid.

Scroll to top