Cavities and gum disease aren’t the only cause of sensitivity. You should always head to your dentist if you experience any major changes in gum or tooth sensitivity, but you may be able to identify the cause at home. Below are some of the most common, non-decay related causes of pain.
You’re Allergic To Your New Toothpaste
If you recently switched to a new toothpaste or mouthwash, and your gums are more sensitive than before—you may have an allergy. Many assume that a fluoride allergy is to blame, but in most cases, the allergic reaction is to the flavoring or whitening chemicals.
You’re Brushing Too Hard
Brushing too hard may make seem like a logical way to kick your oral hygiene up a notch, but it can actually do the exact opposite. Brushing too hard leads to irritation and inflammation, and can even cause tiny cuts in your gums, that can become infected and inflamed.
You may be brushing your teeth with the same pressure as before, but if you have switched to a new toothbrush with hard or stiff bristles—you may need to brush gently or switch back to a soft bristle alternative.
You’ve Been Eating Too Many Acidic Foods
If you’ve recently been craving a food or beverage that is highly acidic, or you notice sensitivity after eating acidic foods—it’s time to make a few dietary changes. This includes, but is not limited to, tomatoes, pickles, kiwi, vinegar, and citrus. There are a few ways around this. For example, if you are going to drink lemon infused water, or a vinegar-based beverage—drink it through a straw to minimize contact with your teeth and gums. This is a good idea anyway, because acid wears down your enamel.
You’re Over Whitening Your Teeth
The desire for a whiter and brighter smile may lead you to invest in multiple whitening products—toothpaste, mouth rinse, and whitening strips and gels. While it is common for your gums to be more sensitive while using a 1 or 2 week whitening system, the sensitivity should subside once you cease use. However, you must avoid the temptation to use too many whitening products daily—or you could do permanent damage to both your teeth and gums.
You Grind Your Teeth
Not everyone who grinds their teeth is aware that they are grinding their teeth, as it often occurs while you are sleeping. This is one of the many reasons it is important not to skip your trip to the dentist, as your dentist will be able to identify the enamel wear that occurs when you grind your teeth. A mouth guard is the easiest way to address nighttime tooth grinding.
These certainly aren’t the only causes of non-decay related tooth and gum pain, but they are some of the most common.