Most people scream for ice cream because they get excited about the sweet treat. But don’t you hate it when you take a big bite of your favorite ice cream and get that shooting pain from tooth sensitivity? What an ice cream buzz kill! Or maybe it happens when you take a sip of hot coffee or even just facing an icy cold wind. Unless you have experienced that painful sensation then you may not realize what a big deal tooth sensitivity can be!
What causes it? Most often tooth sensitivity is caused by enamel erosion. Enamel erosion is also to blame for tooth decay.
To understand what enamel erosion is, you first need to understand what tooth enamel is. Enamel is the hard, white coating that covers your teeth. This coating is your teeth’s natural defense system, and nature knew what it was doing when it designed the human body because tooth enamel is the second hardest naturally occurring substance in the universe, second only to diamonds! This means that it can protect your teeth from the extreme pressures, temperatures, and elements your teeth come in contact with on a daily basis.
But your tooth enamel isn’t indestructible. While it’s unlikely that your dental enamel can chip off, it’s very likely that it can wear away, and this can happen for several reasons. In most cases of enamel erosion, acid is to blame. Every time we eat or drink, acids form in our mouths and, if not removed by proper brushing, flossing, and rinsing, can begin to eat away at our tooth enamel. Enamel erosion is often present in people with acid reflux disease because of the high levels of acid that come up from the stomach to the mouth. Frequent vomiting and consuming foods and drinks that are high in sugar and carbohydrates expose your teeth to even more acidity.
Aggressive tooth brushing is often a cause of enamel erosion, as well. When you over-brush your teeth, you are literally scrubbing away your tooth enamel. Gentle brushing with a good toothbrush and toothpaste twice a day for the recommended amount of time (two to three minutes) is all it takes to keep your teeth clean.
Unfortunately, once your tooth enamel is gone, it’s gone forever. Underneath your tooth enamel is a layer of sensitive tissue called dentin. If your tooth enamel has eroded, the dentin is exposed and vulnerable, leaving your teeth susceptible to sensitivity and decay.
For more information about the health of your teeth and gums, call our office at 479-582-1100 to reserve an appointment.
Here’s to your healthy smile!