Teeth that experience cold and hot sensitivity is one of the most common sensitivities when it comes to teeth, but have you ever wondered what actually causes this annoying sensitivity? The first thing most people think of is a cavity. While it can definitely be just a simple cavity causing the pain, cold and hot sensitivity has many other causes that most people are un-aware of. Sensitivity to temperature can be caused by, but not limited to, a fractured tooth, grinding your teeth, maxillary sinusitis, periodontal abscess, intraoral herpes, following scaling and root planning (SRP) treatment, acid re-flux, erosion of cervical enamel, mouth breathing, gum recession, bleaching, and the type of toothpaste we use.
Everyone has different anatomy when it comes to their teeth. Some people will constantly experience sensitivity their whole life while others never have an issue. While it is almost impossible for you to know what the exact cause of your sensitivity is without having your dentist look at the tooth and taking an x-ray, there are some things you can try at home that will narrow down what could be causing the sensitivity before visiting your dentist.
- Switch to a Desensitizing toothpaste
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush
- Avoid highly acidic foods
- Use a fluoridated mouth wash daily
- Avoid teeth grinding, consider a mouth guard.
The most common cause of random sensitivity to temperature is the toothpaste we use. Sounds too simple right? I am sure you are wondering how something as simple as toothpaste could cause sensitivity? There is such a wide variety of toothpaste to choose from when you visit your local drug store its hard to know which ones to stay away from. When you are experiencing temperature sensitivity you want to stay away from all whitening toothpaste and tarter control toothpaste. Unfortunately, these toothpastes are so abrasive that they can wear away your enamel and expose the tiny tubules inside your teeth that are linked directly to the nerve. Imagine brushing your teeth with sand paper or baking soda, you are doing almost the same thing with a whitening or tarter control toothpaste. You also want to stay away from any toothpaste that include hydrogen peroxide. Not only do these toothpaste have abrasive textures, but this ingredient is very acidic and can cause major sensitivity. To help with temperature sensitivity, it is recommended that you purchase a desensitizing toothpaste with fluoride and potassium nitrate as key ingredients. Some examples of brands to check out over the counter are Sensodyne or Colgate Sensitive. It takes about four weeks for these toothpastes to effectively work. If over the counter sensitivity toothpaste’s are not working for you, your dentist and dental hygienist may recommend a prescription strength toothpaste that you can pick up from the office or the pharmacy.
Another effective way to help with hot and cold sensitivity is to eliminate all acidic foods and soft drinks from your diet. These include all soda’s, coffee, orange juice, fruits, any foods with large amounts of salt/sodium, processed foods etc. The foods wear your enamel away over time if you frequently consume them. If you consume these foods, you can try swishing with water directly after to balance the PH in your mouth.
It is always recommended to visit your dentist for a proper diagnosis. They will be able to answer all your questions and give you the proper recommendations specifically designed for you.
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