If you’ve experienced a short, sharp pain while drinking hot or cold fluids or certain fruits or sugary foods, you may be experiencing tooth sensitivity.
Let’s explore parts of the tooth and the causes of tooth sensitivity. The part of the tooth you see when you look in the mirror is the crown. The thin outer covering of the tooth is enamel, and is the hardest tissue in the human body. It is quite hard and enables you to eat and drink without feeling any discomfort, be it sensitivity or pain. The part of the teeth you don’t see, which is in the bone, is the root.
Dr. Gwendolyn Amarquaye-Bayitse, resident dentist of Pepsodent Time with the Dentist, explains the cause of sensitivity. “When enamel is damaged, possibly by frequent intake of fizzy drinks, the use of hard-bristle toothbrushes, or having the habit of grinding the teeth, the second layer of the crown, which is the dentine, gets exposed to the oral cavity. Unlike enamel, dentine has very tiny tubules or pores that communicate with the innermost part of the tooth where we find nerves. Once these nerves get sensitised, you feel this sharp pain that lasts a short while when the two come into contact with the hot or cold fluids.
“Also, when you have a gum disease and the gums pull away from the teeth, the roots of the tooth get exposed, and since there’s no enamel covering the space, you can feel some sensitivity,” she added.
If you experience tooth sensitivity, the important thing is to visit your dentist, who will identify the cause and recommend appropriate measures to help relieve you of the discomfort. They may prescribe or apply some medication which will seal the tiny pores or tubules in the dentine, or specific toothpaste, like Pepsodent Sensitive Expert. These have proven to help with sensitivity.
In instances where fizzy drinks are identified as the cause of sensitivity, using straws is highly recommended. Alternatively, minimise the intake of such drinks altogether. In case your toothbrush and brushing techniques result in tooth sensitivity, Dr. Amarquaye-Bayitse recommends using a soft-bristle brush like the Pepsodent toothbrush, and brushing in a gentle circular motion.
As cliché as it seems, prevention is better than cure; so reduce the intake of fizzy drinks, be gentle when you brush your teeth, and be sure to visit your dentist once every six months.
Time with The Dentist is a dental TV show by Pepsodent in partnership with the Ghana Dental Association. The show seeks to educate Ghanaians on basic oral hygiene routines, how to care for the teeth, and some myths and facts associated with maintaining good oral hygiene, among others.
It airs weekly on TV3, Adom TV, UTV, MX24 and GHOne TV.