Tooth sensitivity is a very common problem. Eating cold, hot or sweet foods can make you jump with pain. But hey it is not that difficult to get rid of sensitive teeth – let’s look at the 7 easiest ways that really work.
What causes teeth sensitivity?
Enamel forms a very strong outer covering on our teeth that keeps them strong and protects them from all sorts of stimuli – hot, cold, sour, sweet, acids etc. But when it wears down due to one reason or the other the underlying dentin, which can transmit pain sensations, is exposed and we come vulnerable to sensitivity. At times the cementum which covers the dentin on the root surface wears away which can also result insensitivity.
This pain is describes as a shock that can linger for some time even after the causative food is removed. So if you are suffering from sensitive teeth follow these tips to get rid of it:
1. Brush gently
There is a misconception that forceful brushing will clean teeth better. But in case of brushing there has to be a delicate balance. It’s important to reach all areas of the mouth but without being overzealous as vigorous brushing can lead to tooth sensitivity. The enamel will wear out with the extra force. Using a hard tooth brush will have the same effect. The gums around the teeth can also pull away leading to sensitive teeth.
So be gentle on your teeth and use a soft bristled tooth brush. Hold it at a 45 degree angle against the tooth surface near the gums and move it in a circular motion. Refrain from scrubbing your teeth too hard.
2. Desensitizing toothpaste
There are many desensitizing toothpastes available in the market that can help. Some contain potassium nitrate or strontium chloride with block the tiny dentinal tubules that transmit pain sensation. This prevents the pain signals from reaching the nerve of the tooth. Others contain sodium fluoride which changes the molecular structure of enamel making it stronger and an effective barrier against the pain stimuli.
How to use
Rub a small amount with your finger or cutip onto the sensitive area in a gentle manner for a few minutes. It will take a few weeks before you start to see the results. There are several brands in the market.
Fluoride mouthwash can also help by strengthening the outer enamel layer. With fluoride you will get two results in one go – it also acts against decay and prevents sensitivity. Rinse with the mouthwash after brushing.
3. Avoid acidic food and drink
When you eat or drink anything acidic the acid eats up your enamel. If you are frequently having such food then your teeth will soon become sensitive. Citric fruits such as lemons, oranges, fruit juices, red wine, sodas, pickles etc can cause enamel loss.
So wait for least 30 minutes after eating citrus fruits to brush your teeth as the enamel is already weak due to the acid and brushing too soon may damage the enamel. You can make such acidic food a part of your meal to lessen its damaging effects. Hard candies, sour candies, gummies, and all other sweets can also be a reason of teeth sensitivity. Instead snack on foods that are good for your teeth such as cheese, milk, yoghurt and fiber rich vegetables like celery, cucumber etc.
4. Break the habit of tooth grinding
Tooth grinding harms not just your teeth but also your gums and the joint of the jaw i.e. Temporomandibular joint. People grind their teeth, a habit called Bruxism, especially when they are tense and stressed. But this forceful tooth to tooth contact wears down the enamel of the teeth causing your teeth to become sensitive. Most of the time it is done during sleep. If you wake up with jaw joint pain, sore teeth and worn down teeth it is likely that you grind your teeth during sleep. Even during the day you might unknowingly clench your teeth when anxious. Severe grinding can lead to loosening of teeth over time.
Evaluate the source of your stress and try to include stress busters and relaxation techniques such as meditation, exercise etc in your lifestyle. At the same time talk to your dentist. You can get a custom made mouth guard. It fits to your teeth and you wear it while sleeping.
5. Maintain good oral hygiene
Keep your teeth clean and healthy by following good oral hygiene regimen at home. Use a soft bristled tooth brush and tooth paste containing fluoride to brush your teeth twice a day. Follow this with flossing at least once a day. End by rinsing your mouth with a mouthwash containing fluoride. This routine will protect your teeth from sensitivity as well as caries and gum disease.
6. Stay away from teeth whitening
Teeth whitening products contain ingredients that can cause teeth sensitivity. Although it is temporary it can be painful, especially if you are already have sensitive teeth. So avoid making your pearly whites whiter for some time.
7. Get treated by a dentist
Sometimes the gums that surround your teeth get pulled away and recede due to gum disease or brushing very forcefully. The root of the tooth gets exposed and the cementum covering the dentin of the root comes in contact with the elements of the mouth. This cementum in turn can wear off causing sensitivity. There are gum treatments that can rebuild the gum tissue.
There are other simple treatments for sensitive teeth as well, like getting a varnish painted on the sensitive area that creates a barrier and protects it. Other times it might be the symptom of bigger problems like a cracked tooth, deep cavity or a large filling that is close to the nerve. Treating the cause will make the sensitivity problem disappear.
It is vital that you find out the exact cause of sensitive teeth, only then can you get treated in a sustainable way or else the sensitivity will return soon. At Signature Smiles our dental specialists will evaluate your mouth and help you get rid of teeth sensitivity in an effective and efficient way.