Are your teeth reacting to hot food and cold drinks? Do you generally feel a sharp pain between your teeth as you suck air in? Chances are you have sensitive teeth. Tooth sensitivity occurs when enamel (a protective layer that guards the tooth’s surface against its nerve centre) becomes worn out, leaving your tooth more exposed.
It can also develop when gums recede, exposing the dentin. When the dentin comes in contact with certain foods, it can cause sharp pain. Good oral care is vital to ensure that you have enough enamel to protect your teeth’s surfaces as well as to prevent your gums from receding and exposing the dentin.
Can Tooth Sensitivity Go Away?
Chances are your tooth sensitivity won’t go away on its own. Temporary sensitivity due to certain dental treatments (fillings, crowns and bleaching) or surgery will go away once your teeth, gums and mouth heal. However, tooth sensitivity caused by enamel damage won’t go away. That is because, once your tooth enamel has started to wear down, it won’t grow back. Also, if the roots of your teeth have become exposed, you might need a surgical gum graft to help cover the exposed roots and protect them.
What Can You Do to Reduce Tooth Sensitivity?
Just like there are ways to enhance your dental aesthetics, there are ways to improve your tooth sensitivity. And some of these measures can be easily taken at home. Experiment with the following options for taking care of sensitive teeth and find a combination that works best for you. If none of the following seems to help, book an appointment with your dentist to have your oral health checked. Your dentist will be able to diagnose the cause of your tooth sensitivity and recommend the best treatment.
Use a Soft Toothbrush and Be Gentle When You Brush
When you have sensitive teeth, it’s critical to use a brush with soft bristles, as these are less likely to harm tooth enamel and exacerbate dental sensitivity. You also need to make sure you wash your teeth carefully. Brushing too hard, even with soft bristles, can cause teeth damage, especially if you brush for longer than the suggested two minutes. If you fear you are brushing your teeth too hard or vigorously, an electric toothbrush with a pressure sensor may be beneficial. When too much pressure is applied to the teeth and gums, the sensor prevents the brush bristles from vibrating or turning.
Use Sensitive Toothpaste
Switching your regular toothpaste for a sensitive one can be a simple and cost-effective approach to managing tooth sensitivity while still being able to enjoy your favourite foods and beverages, such as coffee, tea, ice cream, and acidic foods. Toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth, like Sensodyne toothpaste, helps protect against the symptoms of sensitive teeth.
They contain special ingredients, such as potassium nitrate that assist in desensitising the tooth by inhibiting the tubules that transmit the stimulus to the dental nerves. They also contain fluoride, which aids in the remineralization of tooth enamel by drawing displaced minerals like phosphorus and calcium back to the teeth’s surface. The fluoride then interacts with these chemicals to build new enamel that is more resistant.
Different toothpaste for sensitive teeth is available, but Sensodyne toothpaste is the preferable choice. With almost six decades of experience on the market, Sensodyne is a reliable brand that has created unique, proven formulations that help individuals overcome tooth sensitivity pain while also enjoying the benefits of cavity protection.
Although it may be tempting to simply use the toothpaste when your teeth are bothering you, it is critical to do so on a regular basis as the toothpaste’s efficacy can increase over time. If possible, don’t rinse your mouth right after brushing, since this will wash away the toothpaste and all of its benefits. Alternatively, rinse your mouth with saltwater. This can help soothe your teeth while also reducing the risk of infection.
Keep in mind that sensitive toothpaste cannot treat other issues that cause tooth pain. For instance, a cracked tooth will always be painful, no matter what kind of toothpaste you use. It also can’t help with cavities, exposed nerves, infected roots and damaged teeth. These are conditions that need to be addressed by a dentist using other methods.
Avoid Acid Beverages and Foods
When your teeth are exposed to acid, enamel damage happens. In fact, cavities are caused by bacterial acids corroding the tooth enamel. Reducing your intake of acidic drinks and meals, including seemingly healthful products like citrus fruits and pickles can help prevent further damage to the outermost layer of your teeth. If you choose to consume or drink acidic items, make sure to wait at least 20 minutes before brushing. Brushing early may cause more enamel damage since the tooth enamel has been weakened by the acids.
Substitute Table Sugar for Xylitol
Studies that analysed the effects of xylitol on the teeth have come to the conclusion that the unique molecular structure of xylitol is actually helpful at remineralizing dental enamel before bacteria starts to erode the teeth. Furthermore, xylitol has been shown to support proper oral pH levels by keeping an alkaline environment to help strengthen weakened tooth enamel.
Saliva plays an important role in protecting the mouth and teeth. Saliva containing xylitol is more alkaline than saliva containing other sugar products. After consuming xylitol, the pH of the mouth rises above 6.5. When this happens, the calcium and phosphate levels in saliva begin to strengthen the enamel’s weaker spots, hardening them again.
Nowadays you can find a variety of xylitol products available on the market ranging from sweeteners to chewing gums. When you have sensitive teeth, chewing a gun is the last thing you might want to do. Although sugar-filled chewing gum can aggravate sensitivity, xylitol-sweetened chewing gun, on the other hand, can help treat the underlying conditions that cause tooth sensitivity. In other words, xylitol-sweetened chewing gum can help eliminate sensitivity by improving overall health.
Xylitol products also help kill cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria in the mount use sweets as fuel to grow. However, unlike regular sugar, the bacteria cannot use xylitol to grow or reproduce, so it starves to death. Studies have shown that replacing table sugar with xylitol can help reduce cavities and tooth decay by up to 85%.
Xylitol has even been linked to a decrease in halitosis, a fancy term for “bad breath.” Halitosis is a bacterial infection that causes a terrible odour that is often impossible to eliminate. Doctors and dentists alike frequently recommend xylitol-based chewing gum to restore the breath’s natural freshness.