3 Causes of Heat Sensitivity in Teeth: This Is What You Can Do About It
There are lots of things that hurt worse than a sore tooth, but when you have a bothersome tooth, it’s hard to think of anything more painful. According to a survey conducted by the American Dental Association, 22% of Americans report tooth sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages. Tooth sensitivity can be caused by a variety of factors, most of which can be easily treated with a combination of lifestyle changes and regular dental appointments. Today, we’ll focus on heat sensitivity, three of the most common causes of that sensitivity, and what you can do about each.
The outer layer of a tooth is called enamel and is the hardest tissue in the human body. There to protect the inner layers of the tooth, enamel can become eroded over time, leading to sensitivity to heat. This erosion can be caused by different things but is most commonly caused by acids in the foods we eat and drink. Saliva neutralized acids in the mouth to protect enamel, and proper brushing and flossing removes the acid saliva doesn’t neutralize. In most cases, when combined with regular cleanings, this is enough to prevent erosion. But, enamel erosion can also be caused by things, like tooth grinding and chronic acid reflux, which are often best treated based on the advice of a doctor or Dentist Near Me.
Receding gums is another common cause of heat sensitivity. WebMD explains that tooth sensitivity to heat or cold is caused by millions of tiny tubules in the dentin: the layer of tooth just underneath the gums. Normally covered by the gums, when the dentin is exposed to heat and cold due to receding gums, the nerve endings on all those tubules create a painful sensation. Receding gums should be treated based upon the advice of a dentist and will include things like regular cleanings, brushing twice a day, and flossing at least once a day. Depending on the severity of the gum loss, oral surgery may also be required.
A third common cause of heat sensitivity in teeth is minor damage. Small cavities, tiny cracks, and small chips often go unnoticed, as most people don’t closely examine their teeth on a regular basis. For many, the first they know about these minor damages is when they start having sensitivity to heat. The easiest way to prevent tooth sensitivity, according to Mayo Clinic, is to get regular cleanings. Twice-yearly cleanings are recommended for catching and repairing damaged teeth, although yearly cleanings can also be enough to catch most problems before they get worse. It’s also a good idea to get into the habit of checking for damage at home and getting any troublesome teeth looked at between cleanings.
Those dealing with tooth sensitivity to heat can also try desensitizing toothpaste, saltwater or hydrogen peroxide rinses, and soft toothbrushes. Tooth grinding can be addressed with nighttime mouthguards, and avoiding acidic foods can help prevent enamel erosion. Overall, however, the most effective way of dealing with tooth sensitivity of any kind, including sensitivity to heat, is with good oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist’s office. Preventing issues that cause tooth sensitivity is much easier than treating these issues after they’ve already started causing pain.