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The Common—And Not So Common—Causes Of Tooth Sensitivity

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

Why do teeth become tender and sensitive? Why can some people bite into a nearly sub-arctic temperature ice cream treat with no issue, while others wince in pain, or avoid the treat all together? Can you avoid this happening to you? Eliminating some of the reasons tooth sensitivity develops can help lessen your pain or help you avoid this problem developing.

Here are some of the reasons teeth become sensitive:

Brushing Too Hard

Using a hard-bristled toothbrush or brushing with too much force can start to wear and tear on your teeth and gums. This excess force and friction wears down the protective enamel layer of your teeth, which can eventually expose more sensitive tissue or nerves. These habits can also cause gum damage or recession, exposing the very sensitive root tissue below the gum line. Avoid these issues by switching to a soft bristled brush and brushing in a circular, gentle motion along your teeth. Often times, people brush too hard because they are in a hurry. Slow down and show your teeth some TLC (1,2).

Eating Too Many Acidic Foods

If your teeth have already become sensitized, and nerve or root tissue is exposed, acidic foods will irritate these areas and cause a lot of pain and discomfort. Acidic foods include things like tomato sauce, citrus fruits, kiwis, pickles, sour candies, and soft drinks. Avoiding these foods can help you avoid the painful stimulation they cause (1).

Grinding Your Teeth

Grinding your teeth, which most commonly occurs at night during sleeping, wears down the enamel and can damage the gum tissue, leading to gum recession. Just like with brushing too hard, exposing the more porous middle layer of the tooth under the enamel means unprotected nerve fibers can be reached by irritants. If you think you’ve been grinding your teeth, or you’ve been told you are a grinder, schedule an appointment with Dr. Hagen to discuss finding a mouth guard to prevent the grinding (1).

Using Certain Toothpastes

Certain toothpastes can lead or further promote sensitivity. Because people can react differently to the same product, some people might develop sensitivity from a paste that another person is not bothered by. If you noticed the sensitivity start after switching to a new whitening paste, you should switch to a different brand of paste, a different product that doesn’t contain any whitening agents, or ask us if you have questions.

Overusing Mouthwash

Mouthwash is a good part of your oral hygiene habits. However, some people overuse their mouthwash, leading to enamel wear, dentin exposure, and sensitivity of the teeth. If you think this is the cause of your sensitivity, try cutting back to swishing just once or twice a day, or try a brand that is alcohol free. And don’t forget to be proactive with your brushing and flossing so that you don’t miss the extra mouthwash rinses. (Once again, ask us for more guidance specific to you.)

Gum Disease

Gum recession, gum inflammation (gingivitis), and other forms of gum disease can all present with tooth sensitivity. In this case, you most likely will notice the sensitivity at the gum line, where unprotected tooth tissue is exposed to the elements: anything you eat and drink. In the case of gum issues, it is vital to schedule your next dental appointment right away, so that Dr. Hagen can help get your gum disease under control and talk to you about treatment options to deal with the gum disease, or procedures to seal the exposed tooth.

A Recent Dental Procedure

Procedures such as root canals, extractions, or crown placement can all cause sensitivity after the event. However, these symptoms should only be temporary. If the sensitivity persists, be sure to schedule a follow up visit to rule out infection or other complications (1).

A Cracked Tooth

A cracked or even chipped tooth can cause pain. This pain can vary, but is typically severe enough that it feels worse than just sensitivity. In a case like this, Dr. Hagen will need to analyze the issue to determine what type of treatment will be available to fix or remove the cracked or chipped tooth (1).

Contact Hagen Dental Practice for All Your Oral Health Needs

Do you think one or more of the issues listed above relates to you? Call us at (513) 251-5500 to learn more about how to prevent, deal with, or end your tooth sensitivity!

Sources:

  1. http://www.everydayhealth.com/dental-health/10-biggest-causes-of-tooth-sensitivity.aspx
  2. https://www.danmatthewsdds.com/5-unusual-causes-tooth-sensitivity/

 

Can Gum Recession Happen In An Otherwise Healthy Mouth?

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

The short answer is that yes, gum recession can happen in a mouth that is otherwise ”healthy.”

Gum recession is the process during which the margin of gum tissue surrounding the teeth wears away or pulls back. This process causes exposure of more of the tooth’s surface, or even the tooth’s root.

Gaps can form between the teeth and gum line, creating an easy place for bacteria to build up. If left untreated, the teeth can become severely damaged, cause extreme discomfort, and even lead to tooth loss.

How Does it Happen?

Gum recession usually happens gradually. Signs include tooth sensitivity or noticing a tooth that seems to have “gotten longer”. There can also be a noticeable notch where the tooth meets the gum. It’s important NOT to ignore these signs. Prevention (when possible) and early treatment are the keys to repairing the gum and tooth and prevent further damage.

what-causes-gum-recession

What Causes Gum Recession?

Part of the reason that gum recession can happen, even if you have good oral health habits, comes down to how it happens. Here are a few scenarios that can lead to recession:

Insufficient Dental Care: Skipping or slacking on your regular dental hygiene habits makes it much easier for plague to turn into tartar. This hard substance builds on and between your teeth, and can only be removed at a professional dental cleaning. Tartar increases the likelihood of gum recession. So keep up your daily habits like regular brushing, flossing and rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash to keep tartar buildup to a minimum.

Periodontal Disease: Bacterial infections can destroy gum tissue and the supporting boney tissue that hold the teeth in place. Regular checkups, healthy dietary choices, and proper oral hygiene routines are paramount to preventing gum infection.

many-factors-that-can-cause-gum-recession

Remember this: even if you have an otherwise healthy mouth, and stay regular with your oral hygiene, there are many other factors that can cause your gums to start receding:

Genetics: Some people are more susceptible to gum disease. Some people have thinner or weaker gum tissue to start with. Others have larger, more prominent roots. Some studies show that approximately 30% of the population are predisposed to gum recession, regardless of how well they care for their teeth (1,2).

Brushing Too Hard: Aggressive tooth brushing creates a high risk for gum recession. This includes several components: Trauma to the gum tissue associated with brushing too hard, using too hard a toothbrush, or cross friction as you brush sideways across the gums. These factors can cause the enamel on the teeth to wear away, and irritate the gums, causing them to recede. The safest way to brush is gently, with a soft-bristled brush, in an up and down motion (1,2). Remember how we’ve talked about the benefits of flossing and using an electric toothbrush? It’s all making sense now since we don’t typically brush as hard when using an electric toothbrush.

Hormonal Changes: Women are more susceptible to gum recession related to hormone fluctuations. Across the course of a woman’s life, changes that accompany puberty, pregnancy and menopause can make gums more sensitive and vulnerable to gum recession.

Tobacco Products: Tobacco users develop sticky plaques on their teeth, which also can lead to gum recession.

Grinding and Clenching: The added forces and pressure placed on the teeth that are associated with clenching and grinding of the jaw serve to irritate the gums at their attachment site on the bone, causing the gum tissue to recede from the base of the tooth. A custom-made mouth guard can be helpful for night bruxism. (Ask us for more information specific to you.)

Crooked Teeth and Misaligned Bite: If teeth don’t come together evenly, increased and imbalanced forces are placed upon the gums and bones, increasing the probability that the gums will recede (1, 2). Invisalign is a great alternative to braces to help straighten issues with crooked teeth or bite.

Lip or Tongue Piercings: Jewelry in or around the oral cavity can cause repetitive irritation or rubbing of the gums, leading to wearing away of the affected gum tissue.

Trauma to the Gum Tissue: Traumatic injury to the teeth or gums from events such as accidents, fights, sports injuries or falls can lead to gum recession.

Call Hagen Dental Practice Today for all Your Oral Health Needs

Do you have questions about the prevention or treatment of gum recession? We’d love to answer any of the questions you have regarding your gums or your dental health! Schedule your next visit with Hagen Dental by calling us at (513) 251-5500.

Sources:

  1. http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/receding_gums_causes-treatments#1
  2. http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/oral-care/problems/gums-receding.htm
  3. http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/conditions/gum-disease/article/receding-gums-and-treatment-and-causes-0214