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Tips for Helping Sensitive Teeth

 In Family Dentistry

If you’ve ever found yourself passing on foods and drinks that are too hot or cold because of that sharp twinge of pain that happens when it comes into contact with your teeth, then you have sensitive teeth.  It can happen just once, or it can regularly occur. Sometimes, sensitivity can even be triggered by sweets or sour foods. But, what can you do to avoid these twinges of pain?

In order to minimize and even eliminate the cause of your tooth sensitivity, you must first know what might be the underlying problem at hand.  And, it starts with talking to your dentist.

Causes of Sensitive Teeth

Teeth are made up of several layers.  The outermost layer is the enamel, and this is what protects the nerve endings in your teeth from those twinges of pain.  But, when this layer becomes damaged or temporarily compromised, that’s when you may experience certain uncomfortable sensitivities from foods and beverages that get through to the dentin layer.  

Causes of tooth sensitivities can be caused by:  

  • Aggressive teeth brushing
  • Frequent use of hard-bristled toothbrushes
  • Frequent consumption of highly acidic foods and beverages
  • Tooth decay, cracked teeth, or damaged fillings
  • Teeth grinding and/or clenching
  • Untreated periodontal disease
  • Infrequent brushing and flossing
  • Avoiding regular dental checkups

How to Prevent Sensitivity

Preventing sensitivities starts with taking care of your smile.  So, if you want to be able to once again consume hot and cold foods and drinks in peace, then you need to brush and floss your teeth properly and regularly to maintain optimum oral health.  When you don’t care for your teeth and gums regularly, and through acts like harsh or improper brushing, it causes gum recession, which eventually exposes the sensitive layer of your teeth.

To avoid this, practice brushing your teeth gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush or an electric toothbrush.  It also helps to avoid and limit certain harmful foods and drinks, including sticky candies, soda, lemons, and high-sugar carbs, as the acidity found in these directly attacks enamel.    

Sensitivity Treatment

Sometimes, even if you do everything in your power to take care of your oral health at home, including incorporating a healthy diet, you may still experience sensitivity pain.  Finding a solution that best works for you starts with having a conversation with your dentist. They can help determine the underlying cause of your tooth sensitivity and help find a course of action and/or treatment.  

Treatment may be as simple as getting dental fillings, or it could require more drastic measures like gum grafting to protect any exposed tooth roots.  Treatment will be tailored to your specific symptoms and conditions. So, be sure to speak to your dentist about all of your pains, concerns and overall goals.  

When it comes to prevention, taking proactive measures is also highly suggested.  Consider things like sealants. These aren’t just for kids, and they can help prevent the development of sensitivities as well as cavities.  For those who are frequent grinders and clenchers, it also helps to get fitted for a night guard to stop further damage from being done to your teeth.   

As far as products to lessen tooth sensitivity, there are some out there that can certainly aid in your discomfort, especially for those who experience sensitivity with no apparent cause.  Fluoride treatments are available during your dental visits. These work to strengthen tooth enamel. You might also ask your dentist about prescription fluoride toothpaste that can be used at home to block those microscopic holes that form in your tooth’s surface to protect nerve endings.  

For more tips and information about dealing with sensitive teeth, talk to your dentist during your next visit.  They will help you come up with a plan of action to protect your smile.

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