"I have sensitive teeth!"
The primary causes of sensitive teeth involve receding gums and
damage to the protective layer of tooth enamel. Some of the common
reasons this happens include:
Excessive and overly vigorous brushing can wear away enamel
exposing the underlying dentine. Dentine may also be exposed
as a result of gum recession or gum disease.
Grinding your teeth will wear away enamel. Unfortunately
some people grind their teeth unconsciously while asleep.
Acidic food and drink can cause erosion of tooth enamel,
and this is often exacerbated by over-enthusiastic toothbrushing.
This can expose the underlying dentine which is sensitive to
hot and cold.
There are a range of 'triggers' or stimuli which can cause discomfort
or pain for those with sensitive teeth. Different people have different
experiences of sensitivity: some people feel discomfort or pain
only with cold foods, others only with acidic foods or brushing.
Common triggers include:
Cold food and drinks – eg. ice cream,
ice lollies, chilled drinks and ice cubes.
Hot food and drinks – eg. soup,
coffee and tea.
Sweet food –eg. sticky toffee pudding,
chocolate and sweets.
Acidic foods and drinks – eg. fizzy
drinks and even healthy fruit and fruit juice.
Cold air – breathing in cold air
can cause discomfort for some people.
Brushing teeth – especially when
followed by rinsing with cold water.
A consumer study estimates there are at least 250 million
adults who suffer from sensitive teeth around the world:
about 40% of the population in the areas studied. So if
you have sensitive teeth, you are not alone.
The study also found sensitivity is not just a problem of old
age - all ages groups can have sensitive teeth. In fact, with changing
diets, especially the growing popularity of snack foods and soft
drinks, sensitivity is increasingly felt by younger age groups.
More women notice sensitive teeth, than men;
48% female/38% male. This may be because women brush their teeth
more often and possibly
more vigorously, leading to gum recession.
Good oral hygiene
is important to prevent gum disease, therefore to prevent
sensitive teeth. Taking care in four key areas will
help you keep a healthy smile:
Professional healthcare: Regular check-ups at your dentist will
catch problems before they develop. Dentists also provide the best
advice about your individual needs.
Effective cleaning: Careful brushing at
least twice a day should be part of everyone’s routine.
Additional cleaning with floss and mouthwash, can be especially
helpful in combating gum disease
and the other causes of sensitive teeth.
Consider diet: Avoid sugary and acidic foods, including many fruits
and fruit juices, between meals and before bed. Acidic foods and
drinks with high acid content can erode the surface of your teeth
and expose the tubules in your dentine, causing sensitivity.
Relieve sensitivity: Colgate sensitive has been
specially formulated for sensitive teeth. Regular brushing with
will help you to enjoy life without worrying about the return
Brushing regularly, for two minutes, twice a
day, is an important part of oral health care. When selecting
a toothbrush to
buy, look for one with a small-headed brush and a handle that’s
comfortable to grip. Dentists recommend you should replace
your brush every three months. Here are some tips for effective brushing:
Be gentle - Rough brushing and shaggy toothbrushes can damage
Be methodical – A routine will help
ensure you clean every corner of your mouth every time
you brush. For example, start with
the outer surfaces of your lower teeth, work from the back
teeth to the front and then head to the inner surfaces.
Then brush all
the biting surfaces.
Pay special attention to the area where
the teeth meet gums – Be
especially careful to brush away plaque from the area around
the gums and in the gaps between teeth. Combined with regular
this will help you control plaque build-up.
Brush at an angle to the gums – Brush
in a circular or elliptical fashion. Using a back and forth
motion can risk making the root
surface tender and wearing down the gum line.
If you have
sensitive teeth, you’ll probably experience occasional
discomfort or pain when eating or drinking cold, hot or acidic
food, or when you brush your teeth. It’s nothing to be embarrassed
about, and there is no reason to suffer
Sensitivity isn’t necessarily a sign of weak teeth. Nor
is it necessarily a result of ageing or your inherited genes, and
it doesn’t mean your teeth are about to fall out. Underneath
the protective enamel coating of teeth is a highly porous
layer called dentine. Once dentine becomes exposed, the nerve
centre of the tooth becomes susceptible to stimuli and responds
with a short sharp pain. The usual reason for exposed dentine
is receding gums, which commonly results from over-enthusiastic
or gum disease.
Brushing with a sensitive toothpaste twice-daily
can stop you worrying about sensitivity. People who have
sensitive teeth often
miss out on many of life’s pleasures unnecessarily, such
as ice-cream and cold drinks.
Prevent the return of sensitive teeth
Regular brushing with a sensitive toothpaste, even when the
pain of sensitive teeth has stopped, is a sure way to help
prevent the return of sensitive teeth. Information in this section
taken from www.Sensodyne.com