Is the taste of ice cream or a sip of hot coffee sometimes a painful experience for you? Does brushing or flossing make you wince occasionally? If so, you may have sensitive teeth.
Possible causes include:
- Tooth decay (cavities)
- Fractured teeth
- Worn fillings
- Gum disease
- Worn tooth enamel
- Exposed tooth root
In healthy teeth, a layer of enamel protects the crowns of your teeth—the part above the gum line. Under the gum line a layer called cementum protects the tooth root. Underneath both the enamel and the cementum is dentin.
Dentin is less dense than enamel and cementum and contains microscopic tubules (small hollow tubes or canals). When dentin loses its protective covering of enamel or cementum these tubules allow heat and cold or acidic or sticky foods to reach the nerves and cells inside the tooth. Dentin may also be exposed when gums recede. The result can be hypersensitivity.
Sensitive teeth can be treated. The type of treatment will depend on what is causing the sensitivity. Your dentist may suggest one of a variety of treatments:
- Desensitizing toothpaste. This contains compounds that help block transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve, and usually requires several applications before the sensitivity is reduced.
- Fluoride gel. An in-office technique which strengthens tooth enamel and reduces the transmission of sensations.
- A crown, inlay or bonding. These may be used to correct a flaw or decay that results in sensitivity.
- Surgical gum graft. If gum tissue has been lost from the root, this will protect the root and reduce sensitivity.
- Root canal. If sensitivity is severe and persistent and cannot be treated by other means, your dentist may recommend this treatment to eliminate the problem.
Proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing sensitive-tooth pain. Ask your dentist if you have any questions about your daily oral hygiene routine or concerns about tooth sensitivity.
Good oral hygiene can largely contribute to overall health. Not only does brushing and flossing lead to a healthy smile, but oral hygiene affects many other health conditions as well. There is much research to support the link between oral hygiene and other health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and even kidney disease. Make sure your teeth and gums are healthy. One recent study found a link between gum disease and prostate symptoms.
What Is Prostatitis?
Prostatitis is a condition that leads to swelling and enlarging of the prostate. The prostate is a gland located above the bladder in men, which produces semen and transports sperm. Prostatitis can cause pain and difficulties when urinating. When prostatitis is caused by a bacterial infection it can be treated with antibiotics.
Link Between Gum Disease and Prostatitis Symptoms
The new research was published in the journal Dentistry and it reveals a link between gum disease and symptoms of prostatitis. Twenty-seven men over the age of 21 who had prostatitis and gum disease participated in the study.
The participants received treatment for their gum disease that researchers found improved within four to eight weeks. In the meantime no treatment was put forth for symptoms related to prostatitis. Even so, 21 of the 27 men saw improvement in their prostatitis symptoms following the treatment of the gum disease.
Researchers believe poor oral hygiene can lead to inflammation in other parts of the body. They think this is why the participants saw relief from prostatitis symptoms.
How to Improve Oral Hygiene
Maybe as you’ve gotten older oral hygiene isn’t as important to you – but it very well should be. Even if you have dentures or veneers, taking the time to take care of your mouth can prevent further illness later on. Here are some basic tips on how to promote good oral hygiene along with promoting good health.
- Brush at least twice a day for a minimum of two minutes
- Use a toothpaste with fluoride
- Floss daily
- Eat a nutrient-rich diet
- Don’t smoke
- Get your teeth checked out regularly by a dentist
- Minimize sugary or starchy foods.
By following these tips you can help prevent poor oral hygiene, especially gum disease, which can lead to future health ailments.
Yours in Good Health,
Dr. Doris Fill