Summer time means warm sunny days and eating delicious ice cream and drinking frozen drinks. Except when it makes you want to scream in pain! Here are some tips for dealing with sensitive teeth to help you reduce sensitivity and get some relief.
What causes sensitive teeth?
The inside of your tooth has dentin, which has microscopic tubules containing tiny nerve endings similar to a sea sponge. The tooth is covered by a hard layer of enamel and cementum. If that layer is gone then the nerve endings are exposed and send a signal to the brain that you are in pain. As a result when you drink a slurpee or eat an ice cream in the summer you get brain freeze and tooth pain.
Are there ways to reduce the sensitivity of my teeth?
When you visit your dentist you should let them know you are experiencing any pain when eating cold, sweet or hot food. The dentist may be able to treat the symptoms by recommending a sensitivity toothpaste, which you should use at least twice a day over a period of time (at least two to four weeks). The toothpaste will help block up the little nerve endings that may cause the sensitivity. The dentist may also place a varnish on your teeth which has a stronger concentration and lasts about 6 months. The varnish seals up the teeth well and is more effective than the toothpaste. You may also be grinding your teeth at night which can cause sensitive teeth. A night guard will help with ease your sensitivity, and help protect your teeth from eroding.
Are there certain foods to avoid if you have sensitive teeth?
Acidic foods will lead to erosion of enamel on your teeth and may make it thinner and therefore more sensitive. Acidic foods include wine, orange juice, oranges, lemon, soda (due to the carbonic acid in the soda), and vinegars. Whitening toothpaste can also cause sensitivity, so you may consider using a sensitivity toothpaste as well if you are doing any other whitening treatments.
Source: “Treating Sensitive Teeth,” CTV Morning Live’s “Ask an Expert” transcript, 123 Dentist
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