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Why Are My Teeth Sensitive to Cold?

Posted October 04, 2013 in Dental Care, Dental Problems, Oral Health

Woman holding a popsicle with a bite taken out of it, while holding her jaw and grimacingIf your teeth are suddenly sensitive to cold, you may be wondering if there is a serious problem developing. Tooth sensitivity can be temporary, and it can also be a result of the natural aging process.

Usually, if your teeth show no signs of decay, you’ve been practicing good oral hygiene, and you visit your dentist regularly, you have nothing to worry about. However, tooth sensitivity can also lead to more serious problems. You should always consult your dentist if sensitive teeth are becoming a concern.

Tooth sensitivity occurs when nerves in the pulp of the tooth become exposed due to:

– Tooth decay or cavities near the gum line – Caused by poor oral hygiene

– Gum disease – Caused by poor oral hygiene

– Cracked or broken teeth – Caused by trauma to the tooth

– Worn enamel – Caused by habitual teeth grinding or clenching, certain mouthwashes, or highly acidic foods

Tooth decay

Tiny holes (cavities) near the front or back of the tooth can occur due to lack of oral hygiene. Since these can be difficult for you to see, regular dental check-ups are necessary for early detection.

Gum disease

Also called gingivitis, gum disease occurs when the gums become inflamed or sore due to lack of proper oral care. Advanced gingivitis, or periodontal disease, involves the gums moving away from the teeth, which exposes the roots.

Cracked or broken teeth

A cracked or broken tooth can expose the tooth roots. Cracks in the teeth can also fill with plaque, causing inflammation and further sensitivity.

Worn Enamel

Habitual grinding or clenching your teeth wears down the enamel and can expose the underlying dentin. The acid in certain over-the-counter mouthwashes can also worsen tooth sensitivity if the dentin has been exposed. Highly acidic foods, such as citrus and tomatoes can weaken the enamel, which also causes further sensitivity.

How to Prevent Sensitive Teeth

Here are a few simple tips for preventing and treating sensitive teeth:

1. Continue to follow a good brushing and flossing routine and visit your dentist regularly.

2. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush gently. A soft-bristled toothbrush can help reduce the gum irritation that may make teeth sensitive.

3. Use a natural fluoride solution for mouthwash. Ask your dentist for a brand he or she recommends.

4. Try desensitizing toothpaste. With regular use, you should notice an improvement in the degree of sensitivity. You may need to try several different brands before you find the one that works best for you.

Other causes for tooth sensitivity may include a loose filling or crown, recent teeth whitening, or a recent dental procedure. If tooth sensitivity is a problem for you, schedule an appointment with Dr. Kevin B. Sands at his Beverly Hills cosmetic dentistry office. Please call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form today.