Living with Sensitive Teeth: How to Cope
There’s nothing fun about taking a bite of ice cream or a sip of hot coffee and wincing in pain. About 57% of the population has sensitive teeth, a condition that leaves you dealing with pain due to heat, cold, sugar, or even simply brushing your teeth. Sensitivity can range from mild discomfort to severe pain, and it can make eating, drinking, among other things very difficult.
If you’re not enjoying your favorite drinks and foods anymore because of tooth sensitivity, there is hope. Today, there are many ways to alleviate sensitivity. Here’s a closer look at some of the causes of tooth sensitivity, as well as some essential tips for looking after those sensitive pearly whites.
Common Causes of Sensitive Teeth
What causes teeth to be sensitive? Sensitivity occurs when the roots of a tooth or the dentin is exposed. Some of the most common causes include:
- Chipped teeth
- Teeth grinding
- Worn tooth enamel
- Gum disease
- Receding gums
- Worn fillings
- Fractured tooth
- An exposed tooth root
In some cases, using over-the-counter tooth whitening products can lead to sensitive teeth pain as well. It’s critical to avoid overusing these products or leaving them on teeth too long, but even normal use may result in some sensitivity. If you want to whiten your teeth, professional teeth whitening is a safer option.
Top Tips for Coping with Sensitive Teeth
The last thing you want to do is give up your favorite foods or drinks, and you can’t afford to stop brushing and flossing. So, what can you do to cope with sensitive teeth? Here are a few tips for dealing with tooth sensitivity.
Tip #1 – Try a Desensitizing Toothpaste
According to the ADA, using a desensitizing toothpaste can help relieve sensitivity. These kinds of toothpaste contain compounds designed to help block the transmission of sensations from the surface of your tooth to the nerve. Just know that it can take several applications before you notice a difference.
Tip #2 – Brush Smarter
Changing your brushing habits may be necessary if you have sensitive teeth. Brushing too hard can wear away enamel, making teeth even more sensitive. It’s important to use a soft toothbrush, also. Avoid using a lot of pressure when brushing and keep the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle for the best results. And don’t forget – you need to be brushing for a full two minutes.
Tip #3 – Make Sure You’re Not Grinding
Grinding your teeth can result in tooth sensitivity because chronic grinding wears away tooth enamel. If you happen to grind at night, discuss a mouthguard with your dentist to keep your teeth protected.
Tip #4 – Strengthen Tooth Enamel
Enamel protects your teeth, and one of the most common causes of sensitivity is the loss of tooth enamel. You can strengthen tooth enamel and re-mineralize the surface of teeth by using a toothpaste that contains fluoride. An in-office fluoride gel treatment may also help strengthen your enamel and reduce problems with sensitivity.
Tip #5 – Skip the Acidic Beverages and Foods
Exposing your teeth regularly to acidic beverages and foods like fruit juices, orange, pickles, and red wine can leave your teeth under regular attack. Try limiting acidic foods to protect tooth enamel. If you do eat them, brush 30 minutes after you’re done.
Tip #6 – Have Receding Gums Treated
Gum tissue generally covers the root of the tooth, but if you have gum recession due to hard brushing or gum disease, then the root of your tooth could be exposed. Talk to your dentist about restoring or rebuilding your gums to treat this problem.
In addition to the six tips above, don’t forget about preventive care. If you have sensitive teeth, there’s a good chance there’s a dental problem occurring. Schedule an appointment with Providence Dentistry today! We would love to help you address and improve your tooth sensitivity issues.