Why are my teeth sensitive?

Dear doctor, Whenever I take hot, cold, sweet foods or drinks, my teeth get sensitive. What could be the cause, and how can this be prevented?

Dear doctor,

Whenever I take hot, cold, sweet foods or drinks, my teeth get sensitive. What could be the cause, and how can this be prevented?

Helen

Dear Helen,

Toothache occurring after taking something hot or cold occurs due to hypersensitivity of teeth. This can happen due to many causes.

Gums start receding due to advancing age, recurrent infections (periodinitis), hormonal changes such as in women puberty, menopause,etc. Consequently, the roots get exposed hence causing pain whenever one takes something hot or cold.

Poor oral hygiene causes recurrent or chronic infections of the gum (gingivitis) which makes teeth more sensitive. Use of sugar rich foods like candy, chocolates, etc. and not rinsing the mouth adequately after that results in more germs multiplying due to the sugar. This increases susceptibility to gingivitis. Using tooth brush with hard bristles, tends to pull away gums from the teeth thus exposing roots and making teeth hypersensitive.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, where there is reflux of acid from stomach to mouth, leads to erosion of the protective enamel of the tooth leading to hypersensitivity. One also has genetic susceptibility for this condition.

Maintaining good dental and oral hygiene helps to prevent this problem. One should brush the teeth regularly in a proper way at least twice every day. Even rinsing the mouth after intake of tea/coffee, soda, etc. drinks is useful. In case of some swelling or pain over the gums, one can use antiseptic mouth washes  for rinsing the mouth. In case of severe pain, antibiotic and anti inflammatory drugs are recommended by a dentist and they help in complete cure. Suitable  tooth brush should be used preferably after consulting a dentist. Flossing the teeth is very helpful in keeping them very clean.

As such, if necessary, dentists and dental technicians clean the teeth regularly. There are other interventions like root canal treatment, e.t.c done by dentists to strengthen roots. There are various natural treatments available based more on experience of people like applying almond or vanilla extract, use of clove oil locally, etc.

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