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If you have sensitive teeth, you know why a tall glass of ice water or nice cup of tea might be terrifying thoughts. Having sensitive teeth can turn even the most innocuous culinary experience into something to be dreaded. So what causes sensitive teeth, and what can you do about it?

First, let’s talk about the structure of our teeth. Teeth are covered by a protective layer of hard enamel. Inside, we find a softer structural layer called dentin, which in turn encases the tooth’s nerve center, or pulp. Tiny tubes in the dentin lead to this sensitive inner area, and when the layer of enamel is worn away, triggers like extreme temperature or sweetness can set those nerves off.

Enamel is worn away by normal chewing and biting, but other activities do it real damage. By brushing too hard or grinding your teeth, you are accelerating the process of wear and exposing dentin over time. Teeth decay brought on by acid, from bacteria or the diet, is a major cause of tooth sensitivity.

When gums recede from teeth, a consequence of gum disease, the roots of teeth are exposed. Since enamel doesn’t extend down to tooth roots, the dentin layer is left out in the open. Tooth-whitening treatments are also common causes of tooth sensitivity. Their whitening agents can soften enamel, and any time enamel is compromised, teeth become more sensitive. This is another reason to limit acidic foods in the diet.

Using toothpastes for sensitive teeth can help provide relief. Fluoride use can strengthen tooth enamel as well, making it less prone to decay. Please call Preston Hollow Specialists in Dallas, TX, to learn more about how to combat tooth sensitivity or schedule an appointment with Dr. Brody J. Hildebrand today!