Do you experience tooth sensitivity to certain temperatures? It's common to develop tooth sensitivity over time. This condition is usually the result of one or more of the following factors: toothpaste erosion of enamel or exposed root surfaces, a cavity or cracks in a tooth, worn fillings, or gum disease. Treatment for sensitive teeth includes applying heat or cold to the area and using plaque-reducing toothpaste.
For relief from the discomfort caused by tooth sensitivity, consider these solutions:
Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth
Tooth sensitivity can be incredibly uncomfortable and make it extremely difficult to focus on anything other than the way your teeth feel. Toothpaste designed specifically for treating sensitive teeth can be helpful if you have a toothbrush that reaches all the surfaces of your teeth. Most toothpaste for sharp teeth contains an ingredient that temporarily fills tiny holes in your enamel and dentin, reducing the exposure your sensitive nerves will receive.
Choose a Soft-Bristled Toothbrush
The softest bristles and most gentle toothpaste can help alleviate the pain of sensitive teeth. A toothbrush with stiff bristles and abrasive toothpaste is hard on enamel, leading to more microscopic holes, increased sensitivity, and cession of the teeth. Switching to a softer-bristled toothbrush and using a nonabrasive toothpaste can preserve the integrity of your gums, exposing dentin through which sensitive nerves may be seen.
Custom Night Guards
It's estimated that 40% of people suffer from tooth sensitivity at some point in their lives. Potential causes of sensitivity can include grinding teeth at night (bruxism), or drinking fizzy or acidic beverages. If this is a problem, your dentist can use molds of the teeth to craft a custom mouth guard to wear while you sleep. Night guards are an investment to protect your smile against pressure, prevent tooth damage caused by bruxism, and reduces irritation from food.
Gum disease can cause gums to recede from teeth, allowing soft tissue and nerves to become exposed, making your teeth sensitive to hot or cold temperatures. Visiting your dentist for a periodontal assessment could help you address both the health of your gums, and the state of your sensitive teeth. Your dentist will be able to recognize if you have gum disease, and it should be treated early on before it leads to other problems.
Salt Water Mouthwash
Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold sometimes can be caused by plaque accumulation on the surface of your teeth. The salt in a saltwater rinse helps balance the pH level in your mouth, creating an alkaline environment that doesn't allow bacteria to grow as quickly. A mouthwash with a simple saltwater solution can help you get back to enjoying your favorite foods and drinks with reduced discomfort.
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic remedy detoxing the body and oral cavity. It involves swishing a tablespoon of melted coconut oil around one's mouth for 15-20 minutes, then spitting it out. This helps dislodge toxins and bacteria. Oil pulling may be an effective treatment for tooth sensitivity caused by bacteria overgrowth or periodontal disease.
Dental Varnishes and Coatings that Control Sensitivity
Your dentist can provide an in-office sensitivity treatment, including non-invasive dental varnishes and coatings. A fluoride varnish can help reduce tooth sensitivity. The application of fluoride mineral treatment can fill tiny holes in tooth enamel that can expose the teeth to temperature changes and other irritants. Other bonding agents and plastic sealant coatings can be applied to strengthen the tooth enamel and dentin, the bony tissue beneath the enamel. Ask your dentist about coating options or other in-office treatments for reducing tooth sensitivity.
Ask Your Dentist About Tooth Sensitivity Treatment
To prevent recurrent tooth sensitivity from home, you can incorporate a few strategies at home, including brushing your teeth twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, using gentle strokes rather than vigorous scrubbing. Avoid using abrasive toothpaste, floss daily, and stay hydrated to balance out the acid levels in the mouth.
At the dentist's office, ask about the comfortable in-office treatments available at your next preventive-checkup!