If you shudder at the thought of a bowl of ice cream and cringe at a cup of coffee you most probably suffer from sensitive teeth. There is some good news though, while sensitive teeth may be a pain, you do not have to live with them.
Sensitive teeth are extremely common, they result when the hard protective layer of the teeth, or the gums, begin to wear away and expose the microscopic hollow canals of your teeth which are called Dentin. Because these canals are hollow they rapidly send the hot or cold sensations from food to the nerves of your teeth.
Once the nerves are reached the only response they can elicit is one of pain. Sometimes teeth can become so sensitive that some people cannot even breath through their mouth without experiencing terrible pain.
Over 35 million adults in the USA suffer from sensitive teeth, this makes it the most common dental complaint in the western world. You don’t need to keep suffering, follow these simple steps to prevent the pain:
- Using your toothbrush, make small circular motions, never scrub from side to side.
- Try to brush gently, never press hard on your teeth. The majority of Americans press too firmly. Check the bristles on your toothbrush, if they are all pointing in different directions it means you need to lighten up.
- Always use a soft bristled toothbrush, using on with hard bristles will actually strip the enamel from your teeth. Make sure to replace your brush every three months.
- Make sure you avoid drinks that contain citric acid. Drinks such as orange juice and sodas will also strip the enamel from your teeth. If you absolutely must have these drinks then use a straw as this will lessen the contact the liquid has with your teeth.
- Never chew ice. Ice cubes are so hard that crunching them can cause tiny stress fractures in your teeth.
- Take steps to prevent gum disease. Once your gums start to recede then the bacteria will find its way into them, using a good mouthwash will help to prevent this.
If your teeth are already sensitive, avoid whitening products. The harsh chemicals in these treatments can worsen tooth pain. If the pain lasts for several days, see a dentist, who will likely recommend one of the following to lessen the pain:
If you already suffer from sensitive teeth then avoid using teeth whitening products. These products contain harsh chemicals which can make tooth pain worse. If you do have pain that lasts for several days, make sure you see a dentist who is likely to recommend one of the following.
- Over the counter sensitive toothpaste. This helps to block the hollow canals that carry the sensations to the nerve, it does require several uses though before you will start to notice the effects.
- The dentist may also apply fluoride gel which will fill the holes in your teeth more effectively than toothpaste.
- Crowning or bonding the sensitive tooth. This will help to protect the whole tooth from any direct contact with hot or cold food.
- Your dentist my also perform a Root Canal. This removes the nerve of an affected tooth which stops it from feeling any pain.
Some of these procedures may sound extreme but it may be worth a few moments of discomfort to ensure a pain free life. If you wait for too long o see the dentist it may result in the loss of a tooth. When it comes to teeth, remember you only get one set, look after them.