You brush and floss your teeth every day because you want them to stay healthy and beautiful. But sometimes, despite the care and attention you put into them, your teeth can still face dental issues, like stains or a toothache. In many cases, taking quick action, like visiting your dentist as soon as possible, can help relieve such issues. However, prevention is typically the best solution, and knowing what makes a tooth ache can help you prevent yours from becoming sensitive.
The outer layer of your teeth, called enamel, is a semi-translucent layer of mineral crystals, and is the strongest substance your body produces. When healthy, enamel protects the main structure of your tooth, called dentin, and the sensitive pulp tissues that it protects. If your enamel becomes damaged from trauma or eroded due to poor hygiene, then it can allow oral bacteria and other irritants to reach the sensitive parts of your tooth. Better hygiene and more frequent regular visits to your dentist may be able to help you strengthen your tooth enamel before tooth decay and a cavity develop.
It doesn’t take very long for enamel to grow weak after you’ve eaten, or as bacteria and plaque buildup throughout the day. Eventually, the enamel will grow too weak to repel oral bacteria, which can then infect your tooth’s main structure and cause a cavity to form (a condition known as tooth decay). A cavity is a hole that directly exposes sensitive dentin, and can gradually expose your tooth’s nerves and pulp tissues as it progresses. If your tooth aches because of a cavity, then you may need a tooth filling to find relieve and save the tooth from more extensive infection.
Your gums protect the roots of your teeth as they extend into your jawbone. Because the root is connected directly to the tooth’s pulp tissues, it can become sensitive if gums recede and expose it. Gingivitis and gum disease are common reasons for gum recession, and you may require periodontal treatment to restore your good periodontal health and alleviate your tooth sensitivity.