Some people experience tooth sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity occurs when you feel pain, discomfort, or irritation when your teeth contact food or beverages at extreme temperatures. Therefore, you may feel pain when you eat ice cream or drink hot coffee.
Dentin hypersensitivity or tooth sensitivity is any pain or discomfort in the teeth due to hot or cold temperatures. For most people, cold temperatures make their teeth ache. Additionally, the condition can affect one or several teeth.
For some people, the symptoms are temporary and eventually heal. For others, it is a chronic problem that affects their everyday life. Even if it is chronic, it is not a life sentence. There are many things you can do to manage tooth sensitivity due to cold temperatures.
But first, learn about what causes the condition, some of the symptoms, and what experts say about tooth sensitivity.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity to Cold?
Several things cause your teeth to be sensitive to cold temperatures. The most common are:
- Tooth decay or gum disease. If your teeth hurt when you eat cold foods and beverages, you could have tooth decay or gum disease. One of the early symptoms of these two conditions is teeth sensitivity to cold temperatures. Sensitivity often starts at the gum line. Therefore, you will feel a weird sensation before it graduates to tooth sensitivity. If your gums recede, then it could also mean sensitivity to cold temperatures.
- Effects of oral products. Some people use oral products such as whitening creams and hardening solutions to improve their smiles. However, excessive use of these products leads to tooth sensitivity, especially to cold temperatures. It happens when the oral products abrasively affect the enamel.
- Brushing too hard. Being too passionate about cleaning your teeth could lead to tooth sensitivity. Brushing too regularly or applying too much pressure when cleaning your teeth erodes the enamel. This leaves your dentin exposed, leading to tooth sensitivity.
- Bruxism. Bruxism is excessive jaw clenching and teeth grinding. Many people develop this habit due to anxiety and stress. It leads to headaches and facial pain. Long-term effects include wearing down your teeth. This makes them sensitive to the cold.
- Cracks in the teeth. Your teeth can sustain tiny cracks that grow with time. The cracks are a direct pathway to the nerves. Nerve exposure causes tooth sensitivity.
- Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). Gastroesophageal reflux or GERD is a gastric condition that causes acid to come up from the stomach and esophagus. This exposure to acidity wears down the teeth leading to sensitivity.
Excessive vomiting. Conditions that cause excessive vomiting, such as gastroparesis and bulimia, could lead to tooth sensitivity. The acid in vomit wears down the enamel leaving the teeth exposed.
Symptoms of Tooth Sensitivity
- Pain or discomfort. You will experience pain or discomfort when you take cold beverages or foods. Most people cannot eat ice cream or drink cold water.
- Changes in taste. You may experience changes in taste. There are notable changes in the way things taste, especially sweet and salty foods.
- Pus or discharge. Sometimes tooth sensitivity comes with pus or other types of discharge such as blood. This is often a sign of an underlying condition.
- Redness and swelling in the gums. This is often in cases of over-brushing, using too many oral products, and applying too much pressure as you clean the teeth.
You may also experience symptoms in other parts of the body, depending on your condition. For example, GERD comes with indigestion and stomach discomfort on top of tooth sensitivity.
Treatment Options for Tooth Sensitivity
Professionals have a few treatment options for people with chronic tooth sensitivity. These treatments are:
- Applying fluoride. A professional will apply fluoride to exposed areas with cracks and holes. This helps to strengthen the enamel and dentin. This will reduce sensitivity, and you can feel less pain when eating cold foods.
- Gum grafting. The dentist may cover receding gums with gum grafting. This ensures there is less exposure of the nerve endings. It will improve sensitivity to cold foods.
- Root canal. In exceptional cases, the dentist may also treat the sensitivity via root canals. This is for progressed cases with underlying issues and conditions.
- Sealants. And finally, the dentist will use sealants on the surface of the teeth to treat sensitivity. Sealants seal the tooth to create a barrier that overcomes tooth sensitivity. Therefore, you will be able to eat cold foods more comfortably.
How To Deal With Tooth Sensitivity
If you would like to deal with tooth sensitivity at home, you can. Most people do not go to the dentist until it is necessary. There are natural ways to ease the symptoms and improve your condition at home. So follow these tips to see results.
- Incorporate a healthy diet. Avoid acidic foods because they will erode your enamel quickly. Instead, strive to provide your teeth with nutrients for strength and enamel preservation. Dairy and dairy products are great for strong teeth. Additionally, vegetables help to keep gums strong. And finally, carrots and healthy hard foods will moisten your mouth and make it better at fighting bacteria.
- Manage stress levels. Learn to manage your stress and work off some of your anxiety. It will keep you from grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw. This preserves the other layer of your teeth.
- Be gentle with your teeth. Avoid brushing your teeth too aggressively. You will experience less sensitivity and soreness. Also, switch out your toothbrush for one with softer bristles. And do not use too much toothpaste when you brush two times a day. Additionally, go easy with the whitening products and other oral products.
Do not give up on eating ice cream just yet! You can ease the symptoms of tooth sensitivity and finally enjoy a cold drink. Just be sure to follow these tips actively. If you realize that your symptoms are chronic or have other body issues, visit a dentist for a proper diagnosis. Additionally, follow the expert advice of a qualified dentist for a healthier smile.