It can be frustrating – and, of course, downright painful – to have sensitive teeth. The mere thought of doing something as basic as chewing on a piece of ice can make you wince, as can drinking any sort of hot beverage. Why does this problem happen, and what can you do about it? Let’s take a quick look.
Why it Happens
The reason teeth become sensitive is usually that the roots of teeth become exposes, or the enamel on teeth becomes worn down. But it could be also due to a chipped tooth, a cavity or even gum disease. Getting to the dentist will be very important if you have sensitive teeth. He or she will determine the reason for the problem and then come up with the best plan of action to treat it.
Take Care of Your Tooth Enamel
That’s a hard, protective layer that helps your teeth deal with everything you put them through. When it’s gone, nerve endings that cause pain are exposed.
If you have sensitive teeth, it’s possible some of your enamel has worn away.
To prevent or put the brakes on that damage:
Don’t brush too hard. Do you clean your teeth with a heavy hand? You might be taking off more than just plaque. Side-to-side brushing right at the gum line can make your enamel go away faster. You should use a soft-bristled brush and work at a 45-degree angle to your gum to keep enamel clean and strong.
Avoid acidic foods and drinks. Soda, sticky candy, high-sugar carbs — all of these treats attack the enamel. Instead, snack on:
- Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables
- Plain yogurt
These will moisten your mouth and help fight acid and bacteria that can eat away at your teeth. Saliva is one way your mouth deals with them.
You can also drink green or black tea or chew sugarless gum. If you do eat something acidic, don’t rush to brush. Wait an hour or so to strengthen before you scrub.
Unclench your teeth. Over time, teeth grinding wears away your enamel. Sometimes, addressing your stress can stop the problem. If that doesn’t work, your dentist can fit you for a splint or a mouthguard.
If the problem is severe, you may need dental work to change your teeth’s position or a muscle relaxant.
Take a break from bleaching. The quest for pearly whites may cause your pain. Thankfully, sensitivity from bleaching is usually temporary. Talk to your dentist about how the treatment might be affecting you, and whether you should continue it.
Thankfully, there are a lot of different ways a dentist can help if you have sensitive teeth. Here are just a few of them.
Special toothpaste: Your dentist may recommend that you use desensitizing toothpaste. This will help block the pain signals from your mouth to your brain.
Strengthening enamel: Applying fluoride to your teeth could help with sensitivity. It strengthens the enamel, helping to reduce discomfort.
Bonding resin: If exposed roots are causing your teeth to be sensitive, a special type of bonding resin may help.