Does looking at a cold beverage with bobbing ice cubes make you cringe? Does hot coffee make your teeth want to run for the hills? Does taking a bite out of a sweet, crisp apple give you a painful tingling down to your toes? Ok, that may be an exaggeration, but studies indicate that 1 in 8 people in the United States have sensitive teeth. Pain associated with sensitive teeth is no fun, but there are ways to fight back!
What causes tooth sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity is caused by the wearing away of tooth enamel or exposing tooth roots. This can come from eating acidic foods and beverages (such as coffee and even pickles). Gum recession brought on by brushing too hard can also cause tooth sensitivity. It's been found that improper use of at-home tooth whitening products can also lead to sensitivity.
Ways to combat tooth sensitivity
- Switch to a desensitizing toothpaste
- Switch to a new tooth brush
- Avoid foods and beverages high in acid
- Fluoride or bonding treatments for teeth
- Contact your dentist about a root canal
There are plenty on the market the can help fight enamel loss as well as block pain that is associated with your teeth sensitivity. The most important thing is to keep with it! Using sensitive toothpaste only sporadically (like when it is on sale) will prevent the best results.
It's possible that your bristle hardness is only exacerbating your pain. Try a different brand or bristle type. You can also switch up how you are brushing as well.
Your enamel is under constant strain from the modern diet. Soda, juice, yogurt, red wine, olives, pickles etc. are really hard on teeth. Try to cut back on acidic foods if your teeth are feeling particularly sensitive. You can also swish with water immediately after consuming highly-acid foods. You want to be mindful that if you brush your teeth directly after consuming acidic foods, don't brush too hard - acid softens teeth and you could cause damage! (See our blog posts on the benefits of water to dental health.)
Ask Roseville Dental Center about different options to create a barrier for sensitive teeth. There are rinses and other options to treat the sensitive, exposed areas of your teeth. The effects will wear off over time, but they can provide much-needed relief.
We know, this is not the answer you want to hear, but it is often the only option for severe cases of tooth sensitivity. According to the Mayo Clinic's website, root canals are considered the most successful treatment for eliminating tooth sensitivity. Dr. Vong of Roseville Dental Center can go over all your options and create the best treatment plan for your individual case.
How to prevent tooth sensitivity in the first place
The best defense against sensitive teeth is practicing good dental health habits before sensitivity even takes hold. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss as well. Be mindful of acidic foods and consume sparingly when possible (do you need that 3rd cup of coffee?!). Make sure to regularly visit your dentist and you'll be in great dental shape!