For those with sensitive teeth, biting into something hot or cold can bring sudden discomfort or even a burst of pain. While discomfort from sensitive teeth comes and goes, it can still have a significant impact on daily life.
The outermost layer of your teeth is the enamel. This hard coating protects the underlying layer, known as the dentin. Over time, the enamel can become damaged or simply wear away, exposing the dentin which has microscopic holes called tubules that lead down to the nerve within the tooth. When consuming certain foods and beverages, the nerve can become stimulated, triggering pain.
Since no one wants to suffer the pain that this may bring, here are 5 tips for sensitive teeth:
Too often, brushing is done with excessive vigour, or using a brush with firm bristles. There seems to be a common belief that brushing needs to be done aggressively, but this can damage tooth enamel and worsen sensitivity.
Brushing gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush can help prevent damage to your teeth, but if you feel that you may still be brushing too hard, consider using an electric toothbrush with a sensor that stops the brush bristles from vibrating when you apply too much force.
Use a Fluoride Toothpaste That Desensitizes
Some toothpastes can help with tooth sensitivity by blocking the tubules that lead to the nerve. This will help protect it, reducing sensitivity. Also avoid using whitening toothpastes, as they are more abrasive, resulting in damage to the tooth enamel.
Avoid Acidic Foods and Drinks
Enamel can also be damaged through erosion caused by acidic food and drink. Even healthy foods such as apples or citrus fruit can cause damage, which is compounded by brushing your teeth immediately after eating, when your enamel is in a softened state. After consuming food and drink with a low or acidic pH, wait at least 20 minutes before brushing.
Protect Your Teeth with a Mouthguard at Night
Bruxism is a condition in which you unconsciously grind or clench your teeth. This can occur at night when you are sleeping. As with aggressive brushing, this can cause damage to the enamel of the teeth. If you sometimes wake with a sore jaw, you may be grinding your teeth. Wearing a mouthguard while you sleep will help to protect them. Changing your sleeping position may also help, and if you notice yourself clenching or grinding your teeth during the day, make a conscious effort to stop immediately.
If the pain from your sensitive teeth endures and the other tips do not help, talk to your dentist about other options that you can explore. Fluoride treatments can strengthen your teeth, giving relief from minor sensitivity. Dental sealants may also help. These are thin layers of dental resin, typically applied to the back teeth. This will seal the teeth against oral bacteria and acid.
No one should have to live with the pain of sensitive teeth. Fortunately, both you and your dentist can take action to reduce sensitivity and give you something to smile about again.
For more information, contact us today.