On eating, some people suffer sharp bouts of pain especially when they take cold food or drinks into their mouths. This condition, known as cervical dentine sensitivity, is a result of exposure of the root surface at the gum margin, often caused by gum disease or by over-vigorous toothbrushing with a hard toothbrush (getting "long in the tooth"). This condition is becoming more common since more and more people are retaining their natural teeth into middle and old age. The condition can be quite distressing.
Precautions outlined above to prevent gum disease and also abrasion will also help reduce the incidence of cervical dentine sensitivity. In severe cases the advice of a dentist should be sought who may decide to place a protective filling over the sensitive site. It is also worth noting that sensitivity can also be due to other reasons such as a loose or cracked filling, another reason for seeking the advice of a dentist.
Alternatively there are different preventive methods such as high concentration fluoride varnishes which can alleviate the sensitivity. The oral health care industry has responded to the increased prevalence of cervical dentine sensitivity and a number of "sensitivity" toothpastes are currently on the market. There is growing clinical evidence that these toothpastes can help alleviate the pain from cervical dentine sensitivity.
Dental Health Foundation Ireland