Scared to cool off with an ice-block because of the fear of shooting pain in your tooth? Do you avoid steaming hot soups in winter because you’re worried your teeth can’t handle the heat? Or does brushing and flossing sometimes cause discomfort?
If this sounds all too familiar, you could be suffering with tooth sensitivity.
Tooth sensitivity, also known as dentine hypersensitivity, is a common dental condition experienced by around half of the population. Tooth sensitivity can affect a tooth when its root surface (a part of the tooth that covers the nerves in the tooth centre) is exposed.
Exposed dentine surfaces occur when the enamel that protects the teeth wears away, or when your gum shrinks, uncovering the underlying surface (the dentine) and reducing the level of protection for your tooth roots.
Signs and symptoms of tooth sensitivity
Tooth sensitivity can come and go over time. In some cases, you may suffer occasional pain, while in other cases, sensitivity can be chronic and ongoing.
If you feel any discomfort or pain while consuming hot, cold, sweet or acidic foods and drinks, breathing in cold air or touching the affected area, then you may have sensitive teeth.
A number of common factors can cause tooth sensitivity:
- Worn tooth enamel as a result of using a hard toothbrush or brushing too aggressively
- Tooth erosion due to exposure to highly acidic foods and/or beverages
- Tooth erosion due to bulimia or gastro esophageal reflux disease (GORD)
- Gum recession, where your gum tissue is lower in its position on your tooth, leaving your root surface exposed.
What you can do
Something as simple and easy as switching to a sensitive toothpaste such as Colgate® Sensitive Pro-Relief™ can offer instant* relief from discomfort and be an effective treatment for tooth sensitivity. Also, you can read our tips for relieving teeth sensitivity here.
* For instant relief, apply directly to each sensitive tooth with fingertip for one minute. For lasting relief, apply to a gentle toothbrush making sure to brush all sensitive areas. Brush twice daily. Always read the label. Use only as directed. See your dentist if symptoms persist.