Ice cream, hot soup, or even cold air can all be triggers for making your teeth hurt. If you have sensitive teeth like millions of other Americans, you may be getting less enjoyment out of eating and drinking with your friends and family. In fact, you may have to limit the types of foods you eat and drink altogether. If extremely hot or cold foods and drinks, or sweet or sour foods trigger pain and sensitivity, we know how you feel. We’re here with a few ways to treat or avoid sensitive teeth so you can get some relief.
Why Are My Teeth Sensitive?
Sensitive teeth can occur when your gums pull back or the enamel on your teeth wears away uncovering the dentin. Dentin includes tiny microscopic tubes that lead to the central nerve of your tooth. These channels allow different triggers – like hot, cold, sweet or sour – to reach the central nerve and cause a short, sharp pain. Your teeth also can be sensitive if you develop cracks in your tooth’s enamel surface, which can happen over time.
Brush Often & Softly
Since wearing away your enamel can lead to sensitive teeth, it’s important that you use a soft-bristled brush and that you refrain from brushing too vigorously. The harder you brush, the more likely that enamel is going to disappear. If your gums are receding, you may be brushing the cementum that protects your tooth’s root. Brushing your teeth properly every day for two minutes using a short back and forth motion is the way to go.
Choose Toothpaste Wisely
Even though we know you love your minty-fresh whitening toothpaste, if you have sensitive teeth, consider switching to a gentler brand. There are many brands to choose from that are specifically formulated for sensitive teeth. With sensitive toothpaste, compounds like potassium nitrate or strontium chloride help block the tiny tubes in your dentin, helping to keep your sensitive tooth pain at bay. Although they do seem to desensitize the nerves for most people, they do take at least two weeks to begin working. So, find one you like and stick with it to see results.
Eliminate Acidic Foods From Your Diet
Foods that are high in acid like coffee, soda, citrus fruits and juices, red wine and even yogurt, can make your teeth more sensitive. The acid in these foods and drinks eats away at the enamel of your teeth, exposing that dentin. It’s best to try to avoid or limit consuming these acidic foods, but we know it’s hard to do that altogether. We recommend that when you do eat them, brush your teeth about 30 minutes after to remove the acid from your mouth. Brushing immediately after is discouraged because the acid softens your enamel and can make it easier to brush off. If you use a tooth whitening system of any kind, consider taking a break from that as it can also erode enamel as well.
End The Grinding
If you grind your teeth at night when you sleep or when you’re stressed, consider getting a mouthguard to wear. A mouthguard will save your teeth from the effects of grinding and the pain that goes along with it. It’s usually a clear plastic insert that you wear between your teeth and can be molded to fit your mouth. You can get a mouthguard from your Brandywine / Wilmington, Hockessin, Middletown or Newark dentist. This will keep you from wearing down the dentin.
The doctors at Dental Associates of Delaware can diagnose and provide treatment for your overly-sensitive teeth. Desensitizing agents such as fluoride varnish, dentin sealers or white fillings (bonding) can be used to cover exposed root surfaces.
When To Call the Dentist
If your sensitive teeth are causing you frequent, recurring pain, or if you think your pain may be the result of tooth decay or infection, see your dentist right away. The doctors at Dental Associates of Delaware can examine and diagnose your tooth pain and get you started on a treatment plan that’s best for you. Our goal is always to keep your teeth and mouth healthy and prevent any type of dental pain. Call any of our offices at the numbers listed below and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have about sensitive teeth or any of the dental treatments we offer.