Having sensitive teeth is an incredibly common problem. It is estimated that 1 in 8 adults suffers from pain due to sensitive teeth, which means that there are millions of Americans out there just like you who do everything they can to avoid eating or drinking anything too hot or cold. Coffee, ice cream and even cold water can be a huge source of pain for anyone with sensitive teeth. Luckily, there are a number of simple steps that you can use to lessen tooth sensitivity and thus eliminate the accompanying pain.
What Causes Sensitive Teeth?
Generally speaking, if you have overly sensitive teeth, it means that the enamel on one or more of your teeth has worn away. The enamel on the outside of your teeth is designed to help shield and protect. When the enamel begins to wear away, the dentin and root nerves inside the tooth eventually become exposed and it is these exposed nerves that cause the pain associated with sensitive teeth.
If you have sensitive teeth, it is essential that you do whatever you can to protect your tooth enamel and also to avoid anything that could cause pain or further damage the enamel. Although it may not be possible to fully repair the enamel, you can at least prevent the condition from becoming worse through the following methods.
Watch What You Eat and Drink
Acidic foods and drinks can strip away enamel over time, which is why it’s important to practice moderation. Of course, there is no way you can fully avoid acidic foods and drinks. Therefore, it is always a good idea to rinse your mouth out with water as soon as you finish eating or drinking anything acidic as this will help to get rid of the acid and thus prevent it from damaging your teeth. It is also essential that you wait at least 30 minutes after consuming anything acidic before brushing your teeth.
Consider Your Choice of Toothbrush and Paste
Brushing your teeth is obviously important. However, if you have sensitive teeth, it is essential that you only ever use a soft-bristled toothbrush in order to prevent your gums from receding. Using a harder-bristle toothbrush can directly contribute to receding gums, which in turn can expose the tooth’s dentin. Dentin is extremely sensitive, which means that exposed dentin can cause severe pain.
It’s also a good idea to use desensitizing toothpaste, which helps to further protect your enamel and lessen the pain of sensitive teeth. As well, there are a number of special stannous-fluoride mouth washes that can also help to reduce pain.
Don’t Brush Too Hard
It is imperative that you develop a proper brushing technique in order to protect your teeth. Brushing too hard can wear down tooth enamel and lead to increased sensitivity. Similarly, brushing with a back-and-forth motion can lead to your gums receding, which is why you should only ever brush in a circular motion.
Skip the Bleach Treatments
Although an at-home whitening treatment can give you a bright, white smile, it can also increase tooth sensitivity. The abrasives and bleaching ingredients that these treatments contain can be quite harsh, which is why it’s recommended that you only whiten your teeth once every six months at the most.
Having overly sensitive teeth can sometimes be unbearable. If this is the case and none of the above methods successfully lessens your pain or sensitivity, it is always a good idea to contact your dentist to determine what other options are available. If you are in the Mesa, Arizona area and need a dentist call our office today.