Do you suffer from sensitive teeth? If so, you are certainly not alone. About half of the population reports having sensitive teeth. Cold, hot, acidic or sweet foods and drinks are the common culprits for triggering sensitivity.
Why are my teeth sensitive?
Most commonly, sensitive teeth are caused by having gum recession. When the gum recedes, it leaves the root of your tooth exposed. Roots are not covered with hard enamel but are made of the softer and more porous tissue called dentin. Dentin has microscopic tubules that have fluid inside of them. When you eat and drink, the fluid in the tubules moves, triggering the nerve of the tooth to feel pain.
Sensitivity can also be caused by other dental issues such as decay, dental erosion and broken or chipped teeth.
What should I do to treat my sensitive teeth?
The first step is to have a dental check-up to rule out any decay or other issues that could be causing your sensitivity. Once that is done, your dentist can make some recommendations to treat your sensitive teeth. For many people, the simple solution of using a toothpaste made for sensitive teeth is enough to fix the problem. Other treatments are available for immediate relief such as a varnish applied by your dental professional to seal off the dentin tubules.
Tips for preventing sensitivity
Practice excellent oral hygiene
Keep the bacteria levels in your mouth under control by daily, thorough brushing and flossing. Oral bacteria produce acids so if plaque is left sitting on your teeth it can lead to sensitivity (and cavities).
Limit acidic drinks
This includes pop, energy drinks, coffee, tea, juice, wine and beer. Water is the best choice for your body and your teeth.
Rinse your mouth with water after having acidic foods or drinks
This will reduce the acids that can trigger sensitivity.
Avoid tooth whitening products
Bleaching products can cause sensitivity and whitening toothpaste are abrasive and should not be used long-term. If you have tooth sensitivity, you should consult with your dental professional before trying to whiten your teeth.
Use sensitivity toothpaste
It can be used long-term to both treat and prevent sensitivity from returning.
How does sensitive toothpaste work?
Since many people have sensitive teeth, there are many products on the market to choose from. Different kinds of sensitivity toothpaste work in slightly different ways. It may take some trial and error to find the one that will work for you. Toothpaste containing potassium nitrate work by desensitizing the nerve of the tooth so that it doesn’t react to the usual triggers. Other products work by sealing off the dentin tubules. If you have a particularly sensitive area, you can rub the toothpaste directly on the exposed root for quicker relief.
Having sensitive teeth can be very uncomfortable but can usually be treated successfully. If you want to be able to be free of dental pain, call us today!