Sensitive teeth is sometimes caused by erosion–the dissolving of the enamel or dentin by a chemical process. A recent multicenter study found dental erosion is on the rise, with a surprising 30% prevalence among 10 to 14 year olds.
Erosion is often caused by the acids found in soft drinks, some fruit juices, sports drinks, and some herbal teas. When consumed in excess these beverages can easily strip the enamel from teeth leaving them brittle and sensitive to pain. Other sources of erosion can be medicines and some underlying medical conditions such as acid reflux disease and disorders associated with chronic vomiting, including bulimia, that bring stomach acids into the mouth.
If erosion is determined to be the cause of the sensitivity, the first step is to determine and control the source to prevent continued destruction. The eroded surfaces then may be replaced with appropriate materials to stop the sensitivity. Without first managing the cause, the reparative dentistry may also be destroyed.
An accurate diagnosis of why teeth are sensitive is the key. Hypersensitive teeth caused by erosion is just one of the possible causes. More serious conditions could be decayed or cracked teeth which also require preventative and restorative dental procedures.