Ouch! Is flossing or brushing your teeth brutal? Does sipping hot coffee or eating a popsicle cause unpleasant discomfort? If so, the culprit could be sensitive teeth, and unfortunately, tooth sensitivity is a condition that many people have in common. Most commonly, symptoms manifest as a sudden, sharp, and sometimes deep pain in a tooth that then goes away.
What Is Tooth Sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity is something that affects a number of people. Most people experience sensitivity after eating or drinking something cold, hot, sweet, or acidic. Normally, the underlying dentin of the tooth — the layer that surrounds the nerve — is covered by the enamel in the tooth crown, as well as the gums that surround the tooth. Over time, the enamel covering the dentin will become thinner, thus offering less protection. Additionally, the gums can recede over time, exposing the underlying roots. When either of these happen, heat, cold, acidity, and so on can penetrate into the cells and nerves of the tooth, thereby provoking pain and sensitivity.
What Are The Cause of Tooth Sensitivity
The exposure of dentin and tooth sensitivity can occur due to a number of factors. Recent dental work, for instance, may cause short-term sensitivity. Other culprits may result in longer-lasting pain or discomfort. Some main causes of tooth sensitivity include:
- Grinding Teeth
- Receding Gums
- Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard
- Consuming Hot and Cold Foods
- Consuming Sweet or Acidic Foods
- Chipped or Cracked Tooth
- Using Whitening Toothpaste or Mouthwash
Tips To Help Soothe Tooth Sensitivity
At Advanced Dental Care in Leesburg, VA, our experienced dentists know how much of an annoyance sensitive teeth can be, and as much as we don’t want our patients to suffer from this condition, we understand that many of them do. The best way to fix and prevent tooth sensitivity is to visit our dental office. However, until you are able to get in, we put together some helpful ways you can help soothe sensitive teeth.
Strengthen Tooth Enamel
One of the best methods to soothe sensitive teeth is to strengthen their enamel — after all, it is your first defense against conflicting negative oral health conditions. You can help strengthen and remineralize your tooth enamel by brushing your teeth daily with a fluoride-enriched toothpaste. According to the American Dental Association, experts recommend that adults brush their teeth with fluoride twice daily.
Defend Against Night Time Grinding
If you are known to grind your teeth at night and suspect this is causing the sensitivity in your teeth, talk to your local dentist about wearing a mouthguard at night while sleeping. Grinding your teeth will eventually cause tiny cracks in the enamel of your teeth. Eventually, the dentin becomes exposed and makes your teeth vulnerable to hot and cold temperatures. If your dentist finds it best, they may create a custom-fitted mouthguard that will protect your teeth from nighttime grinding and premature wear. Additionally, you often can find a wide selection of over-the-counter mouthguards at drugstores that are designed to prevent this condition.
Try Chewing Gum
Although it may seem odd, chewing gum can actually help relieve tooth pain from sensitivity. However, it is important to know that not all types of gum will help soothe sensitive teeth. In fact, you want to make sure that you chew sugar-free gum. This will help produce saliva that will help harden tooth enamel. You want to avoid gums that contain sugar as they will likely leave behind a residue that can potentially make your sensitivity worse.
Skip The Over-The-Counter Teeth Whitening Options
Of course, we all want sparkly, white teeth. However, they often come at a cost. Many of the teeth whitening treatments available at drugstores contain certain chemicals that can often trigger sensitivity in the nerves of your teeth. The best way to give your teeth a break of the sharp, shooting pain caused by whitening treatments, its to avoid the agents sold over the counter. Instead, try cleaning your teeth often, especially after consuming sugary or acidic drinks or foods to prevent stains. Additionally, avoiding foods such as coffee, tea, or red wine will help you avoid staining. If you really are in need of teeth whitening treatments, consult your dentist about painless teeth whitening.
Try A Flouride Rinse
Again, fluoride is a great way to help restore tooth enamel, so it is important to incorporate it into your oral hygiene routine. Remember, enamel, or the hard, outer layer of the tooth, provides a protective barrier between the sensitive root and nerves and the harsh elements within the mouth. Fluoride liquid, or rinse, can quickly and efficiently coat your teeth. Incorporating fluoride rinse into your daily dental care routine will help you strengthen and rebuild some of the enamel you have lost.
Interesting Fact: Many U.S. cities have invested in adding fluoride to their public water sources due to the significant decrease in cavities and other dental issues that are generally the result.
Use A Sensitive Toothpaste
The sensitivity may not be caused by your oral health condition, it could be due to the toothpaste you are using! Many kinds of kinds of toothpaste contain potassium nitrate, an ingredient used to deter pain signals. If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, try switching your toothpaste up. Look for products that contain all-natural ingredients — these will be less harsh than their synthetic competitors. While toothpaste is generally formulated with abrasive ingredients that help to remove plaque from the surface of the tooth, many over-the-counter kinds of toothpaste have the potential to damage your tooth enamel. If you aren’t sure which toothpaste is best, ask your dentist for their recommendations.
Sensitive teeth are an indicator that something is amiss in your mouth. If the above methods do not help sooth tooth sensitivity, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist. Routine dental exams and cleans will help ensure your teeth are in optimal condition. If you need a dentist in Leesburg and Lansdowne VA, contact Advanced Dental Care! Our team of general dentists and dental specialists can provide you with the quality dental care you need to ensure you have the optimal oral health.