Winter temperatures may leave you with a painful mouth. Teeth sensitivity is the result of the underlying layer of your teeth, the dentin, becoming exposed to hot or cold due to receding gum tissue. The tooth roots have thousands of dental channels that can allow a hot or cold substance to reach the nerves in your tooth, causing pain.
Even if you brush daily, you may experience the pain of sensitive teeth. So, if you’re asking, “Why are my teeth sensitive?”, new research reveals a number of things can cause tooth sensitivity.
What causes teeth sensitivity?
Inadequate dental hygiene is a top culprit for sensitive teeth, but it’s not the only cause. The most common reasons for teeth sensitivity include:
- Acidic foods: Tooth enamel erosion can occur when acidic foods are frequently consumed. Foods like citrus fruits, tea, pickles, and tomatoes have a high level of acid.
- Age: Tooth sensitivity is highest between the ages of 25 and 40.
- Aggressive brushing: Brushing your teeth too hard can wear down tooth enamel, exposing the dentin. It can also cause the gum tissue to pull away from the teeth, exposing the tooth roots to stimuli.
- Cracked teeth: Bacteria from plaque can get into a cracked or broken tooth, causing inflammation.
- Gum disease: Swollen and painful gum tissue can trigger sensitivity because it exposes the root surface.
- Plaque buildup: Large amounts of plaque on the tooth root surface can create sensitivity.
- Store-bought teeth whitening products: Many over-the-counter teeth whitening products are made with abrasive ingredients, which can strip the tooth enamel, exposing the dentin.
- Teeth grinding: Tooth enamel is worn down when you grind or clench your teeth.
If you’ve recently had dental work performed, like root planing, teeth cleaning, or a permanent crown placement, you may experience teeth sensitivity. This temporary discomfort should subside within 4 to 6 weeks. Tooth sensitivity can also be connected to winter weather.
Why do my teeth hurt in winter?
Exposure to extreme heat or cold can be rough on your teeth. In response to changing temperatures, your teeth expand and contract. Teeth are porous, so cold air causes them to contract. When the temperature rises, your teeth expand. This likely explains why you may feel intense tooth sensitivity when you go from outdoors to indoors. The sudden change in temperature can create small cracks in your teeth.
Tooth sensitivity and gum disease
While anyone is susceptible to oral pain due to winter weather, those with poor oral hygiene are at most risk. When your teeth contract and expand, dentin is exposed. Dentin is located just under enamel and is connected to nerve fibers in the tooth. It’s what causes pain if you have a cavity or gum disease.
Any problems you already experience with tooth sensitivity will be amplified during the winter, especially those caused by a lack of oral hygiene. The best way to prevent pain is to understand what causes sensitivity and take action to prevent it.
Are sensitive teeth bad?
Aside from the pain you experience, sensitivity during the winter months may be a sign of an underlying dental problem. If you experience extreme tooth sensitivity, your Bridgeport/Trumbull Line family dentist may inspect for:
- Cracked tooth
- Faulty tooth filling
- Faulty dental bridge or crown
- Gum disease
- Retracted or recessed gum line
- Tooth infection
Brushing at least twice a day, flossing once, and using mouth rinse will help guard against these dental issues. Routine dental checkups will allow your Bridgeport / Trumbull Line dentist to detect small issues before they grow into major pains.
How to treat tooth sensitivity
Speak with your dentist about the pain. Dental x-rays may be needed to determine if a larger problem exists. Some simple steps to take to avoid tooth sensitivity include:
- Switching toothpastes to a sensitive -based brand
- Use a fluoride mouth rinse once a day
- Floss regularly to prevent gum recession
- Breathe through your nose when outdoors to prevent cold air from reaching teeth
If you’re using teeth whitening products, speak with your dentist about the ingredients. Some products can increase sensitivity and a better method could be available.
Which toothpaste is best for sensitive teeth?
New information released by Business Insider evaluates a number of desensitizing toothpaste brands. The report identifies the best toothpaste for sensitive teeth in a number of categories. From best overall (Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief Enamel Repair Toothpaste) to best for weak enamel (Squigle Tooth Builder Sensitive Toothpaste), you can read the benefits and reviews from people who have used the kinds of toothpaste. Before changing your toothpaste, speak with your dentist. Every person’s dental profile is unique, so what works well for others may not be recommended for your situation.
Best Bridgeport/Shelton dentist for teeth sensitivity
If you’re experiencing painful tooth sensitivity on a regular basis, schedule a consultation with the DeJesus Dental Group. Severe tooth sensitivity needs to be addressed immediately. If left untreated, it could create ongoing oral and health issues. The DeJesus Dental team can help alleviate your concerns and walk you through a treatment plan that will have you smiling comfortably, even in the middle of winter.