If you find yourself passing on hot or cold drinks because it causes your teeth to hurt, it may be time to consider the following tips to help with sensitive teeth. Teeth have a hard, protective layer that help protect them, but when this protection is gone, the nerve endings become exposed and cause tooth pain.
Don’t brush too hard.
It is best not to use a heavy hand to clean your teeth. You will be better off using a side-to-side circular motion around the gum line with a soft bristled toothbrush to avoid losing that protective outer layer.
Use toothpaste designed to help with teeth sensitivity.
Toothpaste with the FDA approved active ingredient potassium nitrate, is the only available ingredient to help reduce sensitivity. There are several over the counter options such as Crest Sensitive and Sensodyne Pronamel. To make sure these products are most effective, they should be used over an extended time period and contain 5 percent potassium nitrate.
Put a stop to grinding of your teeth.
If you grind your teeth over time the enamel will wear away and give you a sensitivity problem. You may not even realize you are grinding your teeth since usually people do this while they are asleep. If you have unexplained jaw pain or headaches in the morning when you wake up this could be a sign that you grind your teeth. Using a mouth guard at night will help solve this problem, as well as addressing any stress that may lead to teeth grinding. If you find yourself clinching your teeth during the day, you should remind yourself to relax your jaw and part your teeth slightly.
Take a break from bleaching your teeth.
The pursuit of white teeth may lead to tooth sensitivity, since whitening toothpastes contain carbamide peroxide, abrasive compounds that contribute to wearing away your tooth structure. Talk to your dentist about how the treatment may affect you and whether you should stop treatment.
Avoid acidic food and drinks.
Energy drinks, soda, fruit juices and acidic foods may chemically erode your tooth structure, which leads to tooth sensitivity. Limit these foods and drinks, and try to brush 20 minutes after consuming them (not sooner since that can further erode enamel from your teeth).
Look for signs of other issues.
Tooth sensitivity may be an indicator of other problems, like receding gums which expose your tooth roots. Since these roots do not have enamel to protect them, you may experience pain. Receding gums may also be a sign of gum disease which will need further treatment by your dental provider.
Source: WebMD, “What Can You Do About Sensitive Teeth”
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