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What Sensitive Teeth May Say About Overall Health
The effects of sensitive teeth are not limited to inconvenience during meals. Tooth sensitivity can be a symptom of a bigger problem with the potential to affect your general health. Thankfully, this is not always the case. Keep reading to find out the different causes of tooth sensitivity. Some causes suggest issues that could potentially affect systemic health.
How sensitive teeth happen
The enamel is the hardest substance in the body bar none. A thick and intact layer of enamel forms a protective barrier around the inner tooth, which is the part of the tooth responsible for sensation.
Still, the wrong circumstances can cause enamel to wear away or sustain some sort of breach. This causes a compromise in the barrier that protects the inner tooth from heat, cold, sugar, acid and pressure. By identifying the root cause of teeth sensitivity, it is easy to see whether or not systemic health comes into play.
Root causes of root sensitivity that only affect oral health
A common cause of tooth sensitivity is thinning enamel. This condition is hard to detect and only becomes noticeable when a person starts to experience discomfort as they eat foods of a certain temperature.
Sensitivity to heat and cold does not translate into systemic health problems. However, it does affect the sufferer’s ability to enjoy their favorite ice cream or a cup of hot chocolate. For this type of tooth sensitivity, a dentist will recommend:
- Toothpaste for sensitive teeth
- Fluoride treatments
- Adopting a mineral-rich diet that helps to build up the enamel
- Avoidance of acidic foods that would cause more enamel erosion
The dentist will recommend these measures if the sole cause of tooth sensitivity is enamel erosion. It bears mentioning that there could be other reasons for sensitive teeth. These root causes often require quick intervention to keep the problem from growing.
Causes of sensitive teeth that could affect general health
It is always wise to get a dentist’s diagnosis for sensitive teeth. The dentist may find more than just enamel erosion at the root of tooth sensitivity. Here are some causes of tooth sensitivity that could also affect general health:
1. Gum disease
One symptom of gum disease is receding gums that expose parts of the teeth that should otherwise remain under the gums. Receding gums result in tooth sensitivity as the patient takes in hot or cold foods.
Leaving gum disease to progress allows tooth sensitivity to morph into loose teeth and widespread infection of the gums and underlying structures. Left unchecked, gum disease can affect general health in the following ways:
- There are several correlations between periodontal disease and diabetes
- Hormonal changes make women more susceptible to gum disease during pregnancy. Tooth sensitivity during this period should be taken seriously
- Studies point to a link between gum disease, premature birth and low birth weight
- Periodontitis can be a contributing factor to respiratory and cardiovascular disease
Because gum disease starts with barely-there symptoms, tooth sensitivity should be a nudge to schedule a dental checkup.
2. Cavities can progress to become bigger problems
Like gum disease, cavities are a result of a bacterial attack. A cavity can grow into a larger cavity, which can become full-scale tooth decay. Being an infection, tooth decay can spread to other teeth as well as the gums. If for some reason the sufferer of the decay fails to seek dental care, the infection could spread to the rest of the body.
The effects on general health would mirror those caused by gum disease. This is in addition to the poor diet that often results from the discomfort caused by a toothache.
3. Tooth sensitivity that results from an acidic diet can cause digestive problems
Enamel erosion can result from a sugary or acidic diet. It can also happen to the person who suffers from chronic acid reflux. Removing the cause of the enamel erosion solves both problems.
Sensitive teeth are an early warning system
Do not ignore them. Instead, call our office to set up an appointment with our dentist. They will use their expertise to get to the reason for your sensitive teeth.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Sensitive Teeth in Staten Island, NY.
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