Tooth sensitivity affects up to 40% of the population. It is experienced as a painful sensation in the teeth, often occurring after eating or drinking something hot, cold, sweet or acidic.
The tooth comprises a hard enamel covering of soft dentine with an internal nerve. The dentine contains a large number of pores or tubules that run from the outside of the tooth to the central nerve.
Over time, the enamel covering becomes thinner, providing less protection to external stimulation.
Also, the gums can recede and expose unprotected root surface dentine. When the dentine has no enamel protection, the central nerve can be stimulated by changes in temperature and / or certain foods.
Tooth Sensitivity can be caused by:
- Gum recession, due to age or improper tooth brushing.
- Drinking acidic beverages, such as soda, can cause enamel erosion and dentine exposure.
- Tooth grinding (bruxism) can cause most or all of the teeth to feel sensitive.
- Brushing with abrasive toothpastes, with incorrect technique or excessively can result in a loss of enamel.
- A chipped or fractured tooth can cause dentine exposure.
- Also certain dental treatments can cause tooth sensitivity. Teeth whitening, professional dental cleanings, orthodontics or fillings can cause sensitivity, either during or after the procedure.
Find out more information about tooth sensitivity here.