What You Can Do to Prevent Sensitive Teeth

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If you experience short, sharp pains in response to certain foods, heat, cold, or other stimuli, you’re not alone. Tooth sensitivity is among the most prevalent dental conditions and affects one in every eight Americans.

Our caring, experienced dental team would love to help find the cause of your tooth sensitivity and to formulate a personalized treatment plan for you, so contact us today at Chestnut Hill Dental! We also warmly welcome you to visit our practice in Chestnut Hill, MA for a thorough consultation.

The causes of tooth sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is also known as dentin hypersensitivity (DH). It typically occurs when the outer layer of protective enamel erodes and exposes the dentin beneath, which forms the bulk of your teeth and contains tiny tubes that link to nerves inside the teeth. DH may also occur due to receding gums, possibly caused by the irritation, inflammation, or infection associated with gum disease. Other people may have innately more sensitive teeth, even in the absence of enamel erosion or gum recession.

As with most dental complaints, inadequate brushing, flossing, and rinsing may be to blame. However, keeping a clean, healthy mouth can prevent dental decay and gum disease, which expose the sensitive dentin and the cementum, which covers the tooth roots.

Another possible cause is your brushing technique. Either your toothbrush itself may be too hard, or you may be too rough while brushing, which can increase sensitivity by scraping away enamel.

It’s best not to brush immediately after eating acidic foods because acids weaken the enamel, making it easier to brush away. One option is to brush beforehand and rinse your mouth after consuming acidic foods, such as sodas, fruits (especially citrus and berries), juices, tomato-based sauces, chips, ice cream, candy, and sweeteners.

Some of these foods are doubly damaging due to their combined acidic and sugary properties. They feed the bacteria on your teeth, which metabolize the sugars into additional enamel-eroding acids.

Certain habits, voluntary or involuntary, like chewing ice and clenching or grinding your teeth, can also exacerbate DH. And certain products, such as whitening kits, may increase sensitivity by (temporarily) affecting tooth mineralization.

To pinpoint the cause of DH and guarantee a practical, efficient solution, get in touch with our expert dental team at Chestnut Hill Dental!

Potential treatments for sensitive teeth

Oral hygiene is vital. Brushing, flossing, and rinsing twice a day can eliminate the bacteria that leads to decay. Proper brushing techniques can also help. Instead of trying to forcefully scrape away stains, pretend that you’re giving your teeth and gums a nice, gentle massage. A soft-bristle brush is also ideal.

It’s also essential to avoid aggravating behaviors, like chewing ice. And to limit your consumption of sugary, acidic foods or drinks.

In terms of treatment, certain substances may reduce sensitivity. Fluoride-based remedies can revitalize your teeth by resupplying the enamel-boosting minerals that have been lost via decay. Sodium fluoride, for example, coats the exposed dentin and forms a protective barrier that may reduce or eliminate sensitivity or pain.

Potassium nitrate combats sensitivity as well. It reduces the activity of the dental sensory nerves, responsible for the perception of different sensations, and inhibits the signals they send to the brain.

Even something as simple as chewing (sugar-free) gum may provide benefits. It stimulates the production of saliva, which can neutralize acids on the teeth. Chewing-induced saliva also carries calcium and other tooth-fortifying mineral goodies, which can remineralize your teeth to a degree.

If your sensitivity is caused by receding gums, a gum graft may help. This quick, relatively simple procedure involves harvesting healthy tissue from the roof of the mouth or other areas of the gums, then grafting it in the areas that have been exposed.

If other treatments prove ineffective, it may be due to decay or issues within the tooth, affecting the nerves or other soft tissues deep inside the tooth pulp. In this case, more extensive treatment may be necessary.

Don’t suffer needlessly, contact us today


There’s no reason to suffer any longer, when potential treatments are simple, effective, and convenient. To find the best solution for you and ensure a more comfortable, pain-free future, contact us today at Chestnut Hill Dental! We also warmly welcome you to visit our practice in Chestnut Hill, MA.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.