IS YOUR CHILD GETTING a painful jolt through their teeth every time they try to enjoy a bite of ice cream or a sip of hot chocolate? If they do, then they’re familiar with the woes of tooth sensitivity, and they aren’t alone. Tooth sensitivity is more commonly a problem that affects adults, but children can have sensitive teeth too.
So why does this happen? Well, to understand tooth sensitivity, it helps to know about the structure of a tooth and how the different layers function.
The Anatomy Of A Tooth
The crown of each tooth is covered in a thin layer of hard enamel. Beneath the enamel is dentin, a bony substance with thousands of microscopic tubules running through it. These tubules are how the nerves in the pulp at the core of each tooth can detect what’s going on at the surface.
Causes Of Sensitivity
Most often, tooth sensitivity occurs when the enamel wears away, which could be the result of teeth grinding, erosion from acid, or even improper brushing. Without enamel, the tubules in the dentin become exposed. Once that happens, eating or drinking anything hot or cold — sometimes even sweet or sour — will give the tooth a nasty shock.
Common causes of sensitivity in children are cavities and having a chipped or fractured tooth. Even if they’re keeping up with their brushing, accidents can happen when children play, and sometimes these result in damaged teeth. When that damage exposes the dentin, the teeth become sensitive.
How You Can Protect Your Child’s Teeth
If your child does have sensitive teeth, there are several ways to fight back. First, make sure they’re using a soft-bristled brush, because hard bristles may further damage the enamel. You can also switch them to a toothpaste specifically formulated for children with sensitive teeth. Finally, keep a close eye on their consumption of sugary or acidic foods and drinks, particularly soft drinks and hard candies.
What Our Practice Can Do
Make sure to come to us if your child is experiencing tooth sensitivity, even if their next regular appointment is months away. We can strengthen their teeth with a fluoride varnish and help you select the right toothpaste to help with the sensitivity. We’ll also make sure there aren’t any other problems with their teeth!
We’re here to make sure your child’s smile stays healthy and strong!
Dr. Joana Lastres D.M.D
Board Certified Pediatric Dentist