When you take a sip of iced tea or hot chocolate, does a shot of pain go through your teeth? If you eat something sweet or something bitter, do your molars ache? At the risk of sounding far too infomercial-y, if you said yes to either of the previous questions, you probably suffer from tooth sensitivity.
What exactly is tooth sensitivity, you ask? The sensitivity is caused by irritation of the nerves of a tooth – at times, this can be caused by regular dental cleanings. The irritation is due to more pressure on the tooth than usual. Damage can also be caused by biting down too hard onto something, grinding teeth or other actions that wear on the enamel (the outer, hard coating) of the teeth.
The part we’re all most familiar with is the pain of tooth sensitivity – usually when we eat or drink things of extreme temperatures, or acidic substances. Since the enamel is worn down, our teeth become sensitive to such conditions and can stay that way for several months.
If you do have sensitive teeth, there are many home remedies for sensitive teeth that you can try to relieve the pain, such as:
1. Desensitizing Toothpaste
These toothpastes are available at any run-of-the-mill grocery store. They are designed to diminish sensitivity by rebuilding the lacking enamel. Along with brushing, you can also try spreading it over the sensitive areas at night before you go to sleep.
You can either ask your dentist to apply fluoride to the sensitive tooth areas at your next dentist appointment, or you can buy a fluoride rinse at the store. Just like desensitizing toothpaste, it’s made to strengthen tooth enamel and reduce pain.
Plaque buildup can also cause sensitivity because it produces an acid that easily irritates teeth. This is yet another reason to beware of plaque and routinely care for your teeth by brushing, flossing and using mouthwash.
4. Buy a Soft Toothbrush
In some cases, enamel is damaged by aggressive brushers. While your dentists appreciate your enthusiasm, be aware that you might be damaging your teeth. Try going to the store and buying the brush with the softest bristles you can find. And don’t brush so hard, Popeye!
5. Avoid Acidic Foods and Drinks
Certain foods can cause tooth sensitivity, or make it worse. The biggest food groups to avoid if you have sensitive teeth include: acidic foods (break down enamel), hard foods (crack teeth) and foods of extreme temperatures (cause more pain). Keep this in mind as you plan your meals – at least until your teeth grow stronger.
Note: If you have cracked or broken teeth due to sensitivity, know that this could lead to a cavity or infection so it’s best to see a dentist rather than trying to fix the problem by yourself.
Having sensitive teeth is a common problem, but it doesn’t have to be permanent. Try out some of our tips for more relief. Remember to ask your dentist if you have other questions concerning tooth sensitivity.
What are methods you use to prevent tooth sensitivity?