Tooth sensitivity experience among residential university students

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Objectives:The aim of this study was to assess the experience of residential University students about ‘sensitive teeth’.Subject and methods:Self-administered questionnaires were given randomly to students in all the residential hostels located in the University campus. Data on presence of sensitive teeth, initiating stimulus and duration of each episode of discomfort were elicited. History of common aetiological factors of tooth sensitivity was also taken.Results:One thousand and nineteen responses (650 males; 369 females) were analysed in this study. Approximately 697 (68.4%) volunteers claimed to have sensitive teeth. Majority described their discomfort as sharp pain, cold as the initiating stimulus and drinking was mostly interfered with. Tooth sensitivity was found to be common among hard toothbrush users. Multiple regression analysis showed that hard toothbrush had a significant association with tooth sensitivity. Other common aetiological factors, such as history of gastric acid reflux, vomiting, soft drinks and the use of vitamin C were found to have a weak association with tooth sensitivity.Conclusion:Prevalence of tooth sensitivity was 68.4%. Presence of tooth sensitivity among these students was associated more with history of hard toothbrush use contrary to widely held belief that erosive agents were mostly responsible. Future studies are needed to provide more epidemiological data on tooth brushing and tooth sensitivity.

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