Ice cream, iced tea, popsicles… many of us love these summertime treats that help us cool down on the hottest day.

But if you take a bite or sip and feel pain in your teeth, you have probably been avoiding these!

Why does this happen? What causes sensitivity? And, more importantly, what can you do about it?

Father-and-son team Drs. John and Ryan Smith – your dentists in Aloha and Hillsboro – offer this advice for people who struggle with the discomfort of sensitive teeth.

The Causes of Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity can be the result of a number of different factors. It most commonly occurs when you have experienced gum recession (often caused by periodontal disease) or your enamel has become thinner.

These two conditions expose the dentin, which is the more sensitive layer beneath the protective enamel.

Finding the culprit behind your sensitivity often offers the key to treating it. For instance, do you do any of the following?

  • Aggressively brush your teeth
  • Use anything other than a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Frequently consume highly acidic foods or beverages (tomatoes, coffee, soda, lemonade)
  • Grind or clench your teeth

Treating Sensitivity

The first step to treating tooth sensitivity is to schedule an appointment with our practice so we can rule out more worrisome causes of sensitivity, such as decay and gum disease. We can also review your home care routine with you and check your brushing technique. While it may seem that brushing harder is better and that you’ll remove more plaque, you may also be eroding your protective enamel. Gentle strokes with a soft-bristled brush are generally all it takes to dislodge plaque, and no toothbrush can remove tartar. That requires professional instruments used by a trained dentist or hygienist.

We’ll also examine your teeth for signs of clenching or grinding. In this case, a night guard could help reduce the damage this habit can cause and relieve your sensitivity.

Examining your diet and reducing your consumption of highly acidic foods can also be helpful, and we are happy to recommend a sensitivity-reducing toothpaste to make brushing and eating more comfortable.

Tooth sensitivity should not be ignored or written off. It could be a sign of a more serious condition. We want you to get through the hot summer comfortably and able to cool down whenever you like! Call Smith Dental today to schedule your appointment at our Aloha or Hillsboro location!