Patients commonly experience tooth sensitivity to certain foods and, especially, to hot and cold temperatures. Breathing in cold air, enjoying a scoop of ice cream, or sipping a cup of hot cocoa can all be painful events for an individual with sensitive teeth. When tubules located within the dentin of your teeth become exposed, they also expose your nerve roots to temperature changes, foods, and drinks. This type of tooth sensitivity occurs for several different reasons including worn enamel, receding gums, cracked fillings, and even tooth decay. The good news is that sensitivity can be effectively treated. If you have trouble with sensitive teeth, consider the following tips to prevent and manage your symptoms.
- Change Toothpaste – Switch to a toothpaste specially formulated for sensitive teeth. This is not an overnight fix, but should reduce sensitivity over a prolonged period of use (from a week to a month).
- Stop Whitening – Both at-home and in-office whitening treatments can result in overly sensitive teeth. The whitening agents contained in toothpastes, gels, and bleaches often lead to teeth becoming sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. Give your teeth a break from whitening products. If you have in-office whitening treatments, speak to our dentist about adjusting your whitening schedule.
- Avoid Certain Foods and Drinks – Sticky, sugary foods, like chewing gum and soda, and acidic foods and drinks, such as coffee, wine, tomatoes, and citrus all harm enamel. Eliminate these from your diet to encourage the strengthening of enamel.
- Brush Gently – Although dentists appreciate enthusiastic oral care, vigorously brushing your teeth can damage your enamel and cause your gums to recede. Look for a brush with soft bristles and use a gentle touch. If you have a difficult time controlling the pressure with which you brush your teeth, try an electric toothbrush, which does the brushing for you.
- Try Not to Clench Teeth – Clenching and grinding your teeth wears enamel quickly, often leading to sensitivity. Grinding and clenching often occur involuntarily during sleep. You can wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth during sleep or take up activities to relax and release stress prior to bedtime, such as yoga or meditation.
- See Your Dentist – If sensitivity persists for longer than a few days, you should see a professional to rule out or treat any more serious underlying causes of sensitivity, such as gum disease or cavities. Our dentist will also provide you with effective sensitivity treatments, such as bonding over exposed nerves and fluoride to strengthen enamel.
The major factor in tooth sensitivity is enamel care. Brushing gently with a fluoride toothpaste, avoiding harmful foods, and taking steps to safeguard your teeth from nighttime grinding will help you prevent and manage tooth sensitivity throughout your life. If symptoms persist, visit our dentist for a further diagnosis and more specific treatment plan which will allow you once again to enjoy your favorite hot and cold foods and drinks in no time. Contact us today to discuss your sensitive teeth.