Having sensitive teeth can be difficult to live with and is often uncomfortable and painful. This is hardly surprising when you consider that the sensitivity is a result of the gums pulling back, which means that there is more direct exposure to the tooth’s nerve center. At that point, anything can more directly affect that nerve, including hot foods, cold foods, even sweet foods or foods with strong flavor. There are three major ways by which you can reduce tooth sensitivity.
- Consider Cause and Effect
- Use the Right Toothpaste and Toothbrush
- Consider what you eat
Consider Cause and Effect
Tooth sensitivity can be affected by a number of factors, some of which are temporary and some permanent. Recent dental work, for example, can cause sensitive teeth. This type of sensitivity is likely to go away in a month to two months on its own. Grinding teeth – something that many people do both day and night – can also wear down the enamel and cause more exposure to the nerve. This habit can usually be addressed by wearing a mouth guard. Additionally, the overuse of teeth whitening products is a common cause of sensitive teeth. Analyzing whether there is an outside source of the tooth sensitivity can help you decide how to address the problem.
Use the Right Toothpaste and Toothbrush
Using a type of toothpaste specifically formulated for sensitive teeth can greatly reduce pain as well. In addition to cleaning your teeth, toothpaste with potassium nitrate will numb the tooth sensitivity. Other kinds of toothpaste for sensitive teeth actually block the tubes the lead to the nerve center, which limits the amount of pain. Repeated use of this type of toothpaste will build up those blockages. A toothbrush for sensitive teeth should be soft-bristled, and there should be an extra effort to be gentle around the gum line so as to not injure it and cause more exposure to the nerve.
Consider What You Eat
It is helpful to analyze exactly what foods are causing you the pain and try to limit exposure to those foods in the future. Often hot and cold foods can exacerbate the problem. Highly acidic foods such as oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes and tea can be likely culprits, as well as foods high in sugar content. Hard candy or hard food can also be a problem.
The important part of addressing tooth sensitivity is to make sure that you are also seeing the dentist when you need to. Tooth sensitivity can be caused by tooth decay and plaque buildup, as well as gingivitis and damage to the teeth. A broken tooth can allow bacteria to build within it and this can cause inflammation and sensitive teeth and can often lead to more dental trouble in the future. Regular dental inspections can help you discover if there is more of a long-term cause.