You may not give much thought to your teeth on a daily basis. Out of habit, you brush your teeth in the morning and before sleeping. But when your teeth hurt while brushing or eating or having a chilled drink, that’s when you realise you need to focus more on oral health. If you have sensitive teeth, simple activities like eating a cup of ice cream can cause temporary but sharp pain in your teeth. Read on to know how to treat sensitive teeth.
People end up with sensitive teeth when the protective enamel on the tooth’s surface wears down, exposing the underlying dentin, says dental surgeon and prosthodontist Dr Sacheev Nanda. Some of the symptoms are pain or discomfort when consuming hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and drinks, as well as during brushing or flossing.
Sensitive teeth can affect people of all ages, but the problem tends to be more common in older adults. As we age, tooth enamel may naturally wear down, increasing the likelihood of sensitivity, shares the expert. However, various factors can contribute to sensitivity at any age.
Here are some factors:
Here are some ways to help prevent and treat sensitive teeth:
Use toothpaste specially formulated for sensitive teeth, which contains compounds to reduce sensitivity over time, says Dr Nanda. You can use high-fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash for at-home use, with some available over the counter. But make sure you follow your dentist’s guidelines on the frequency of use.
You can go for professional fluoride applications at a dentist’s office. They can strengthen tooth enamel and reduce sensitivity. Dentists frequently administer high-concentration fluoride gels, foams, or varnishes during dental visits for a swift and efficient delivery of a concentrated fluoride dose to the teeth.
You may feel like a soft-bristle toothbrush won’t clean your teeth properly, but that’s not true. These toothbrushes are gentler on gums and tooth enamel, preventing gum recession and enamel erosion caused by excessive pressure. The softer bristles also reduce the likelihood of damage to delicate gum tissue.
Limit consumption of acidic substances that can contribute to enamel erosion. Some of the foods with high acidic content are high sodium processed foods, and carbonated drinks, including sodas.
Bruxism is a condition in which you grind or clench your teeth while you are sleeping or do it unconsciously when you are awake. If you grind your teeth, a custom-fitted mouthguard can prevent enamel wear. Also, be conscious of teeth clenching habits, especially during stressful times.
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Most of the dental problems pop up due to poor oral habits. So, maintain regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups to prevent cavities and gum issues.
Rinse your mouth with a saltwater solution, which can be easily prepared at home using salt and warm water. It can help reduce inflammation and sensitivity, says the expert.
Some people find relief from teeth sensitivity through oil pulling. Swishing a small amount of coconut or sesame oil in the mouth for about 15 to 20 minutes can help.
But it is essential to consult with a dentist for a proper diagnosis and personalised treatment plan based on the specific cause of your sensitivity.