Sensitive teeth: the how behind the "ow"

Eating an apple to stay healthy.

If the thought of taking a big bite into a fresh fall apple makes you wince, here are a few reasons why your teeth may be super sensitive:

  1. Too much mouthwash - Some mouthwashes have acids in them that make sensitive teeth worse. If you use mouthwash throughout the day, ask your dentist for a neutral fluoride rinse instead.
  2. Eating acidic foods - Tomatoes, citrus and fruit juices also have acids in them that could eat away at your teeth's enamel. Balance out the acid with a piece of cheese or milk.
  3. Tooth whiteners and whitening toothpaste - Peroxide-based bleaching solutions cause sensitive teeth, but stops the sensitivity after you stop using the product. Ask your dentist about other options for a brighter smile.
  4. Receding gums - Your teeth have thousands of tiny holes at the root that go right to the nerve. When your gums recede, the root is exposed, and so is the nerve.
  5. Brushing too hard - Brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled brush can cause your gums to recede and can wear away the protective enamel on the tooth's surface.
  6. Recent dental work - For a short time after visiting the dentist, your teeth may be sensitive. If it's bad enough for you to worry about visiting your dentist, talk to him or her before your visit.
  7. Cracked teeth - When your tooth is cracked, your broken tooth can rub against itself or fill with bacteria, causing the nerve to get irritated and inflamed. Avoid chewing ice and biting into hard candies.
  8. Tooth grinding or clenching - Your jaws are strong, and if you grind or clench, over time you could wear away the enamel, leaving your teeth sensitive.
  9. Tooth decay - Things like cavities leave the root wide open to everything in your mouth. Eat right, brush and floss and visit your dentist for regular cleanings.
  10. Treat your mouth right - Keep your teeth strong and your mouth healthy by visiting your dentist every six months. Together, you can work on making your sensitive teeth a distant memory.
Courtesy of Humana
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