March 23, 2011
Oh, that awful feeling.
Biting into a scoop of ice cream.
Sipping a cup of very hot coffee.
A spoon slips and slides across your teeth.
If you shiver at the thought of one of these things, you already know what it’s like to have sensitive teeth.
Sensitive teeth are caused when an inner layer of tooth material — dentin becomes exposed to the air.
Often this happens when gums shrink or pull away from the tooth’s roots. Roots are full of tiny channels that lead to the middle of the tooth, home to the dental pulp (nerves). Anything that touches the tooth — hot or cold liquids, cold air, or even something very sweet — can shoot pain straight to the heart of the tooth.
The best way around sensitive teeth is to sidestep the things that cause them — particularly tooth whitening. It is a major cause of sensitive teeth because it eats away tooth enamel. Using mouthwash too often can also cause problems because it changes your mouth’s chemistry over time. But if you already have sensitive teeth, there’s help. A few things you can do:
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