Do you skip cold treats in the summer and pass on hot soup in the winter because they make your teeth hurt? There are several typical causes of sensitivity.

Enamel Erosion

It’s possible some your tooth enamel has eroded. Enamel is the protective layer that shields your teeth and protects your nerve endings. When it is worn away, it’s gone for good. Preventing damage is key.

  1. Use the proper brushing technique. If you toothbrush bristles are pushed down, that’s a clue that you are brushing too hard. Side to side brushing is a no-no. Using a soft-bristled brush work gently at 45-degrees angles throughout your mouth.
  2. Avoid acidic foods and drinks that wear away your enamel such as sodas, candy and simple carbs. Eat for your teeth. They love cheese, milk, low-sugar yogurt, fruits and veggies.
  3. Grinding your teeth can wear down enamel. Speak with your dentist about a custom mouth guard or other treatment options.
  4. Sensitivity from teeth whitening procedures is usually temporary but you may want to take a break.

Gum Recession or Gum Disease

Tooth sensitivity can also be due to natural gum recession that occurs with age. It can also be caused by gum disease that can destroy the roots of your teeth. Here is your prevention action plan:

  1. Visit your dentist for regular cleanings and exams;
  2. Don’t smoke;
  3. Use proper brushing and flossing techniques.

Cracked Tooth or Filling

You may notice sensitivity or even pain with a crack that reaches the root of the tooth.

It’s important to discuss tooth sensitivity with your dentist so that he or she can determine the cause and offer treatment and pain relief.

Dr. Damian Dachowski is a family dentist and owner of d3dentistry in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina