Does the thought of biting into a cold ice-cream send shivers up your spine? You may find your teeth feeling sensitive or painful after hot or cold food and drinks, after eating certain foods and sugary sweets, or even from being exposed to cold air. Tooth sensitivity usually occurs when the outer layer of enamel becomes worn away, exposing the dentin underneath. However, there are a number of different causes of tooth sensitivity including:
- Periodontal disease
- Tooth decay
- Over-brushing or aggressive tooth brushing
- Tooth grinding
- Dental work
So, what are some ways you can treat your tooth sensitivity?
Sensitive toothpaste and fluoride treatments
If you are facing tooth sensitivity, there are numerous treatments available. Using a fluoride gel can help to strengthen the tooth enamel and reduce pain. This treatment can be done at your dentist. You can also buy over the counter treatments such as desensitizing toothpaste to help with sensitive teeth. These should be used on a regular basis and work by blocking off the nerve endings in exposed dentin.
Use a soft bristled toothbrush
Over-brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush can actually wear away enamel, increasing the sensitivity in your teeth. Changing your brushing habits can help protect your teeth and prevent further damage. Instead of a hard bristle toothbrush, switch over to one with soft bristles. You should brush your teeth for a full two minutes, using short gentle strokes in a circular motion – not side to side.
Avoid highly acidic foods
Exposure to acidic foods such as soft drinks, red wine, pickles, oranges, and coffee, can erode away your enamel. Eating these foods causes enamel to weaken and demineralization to occur, making your teeth more prone to sensitivity. Try to limit these foods and wait half an hour after eating these before you brush your teeth. If you brush your teeth straight away, this will worsen the damage by spreading the acidity. You can also lessen the damage by eating foods with a higher PH alongside acidic foods, such as nuts, oatmeal, bananas, apples, plain yoghurt, vegetables, rice, and wholegrains.
Use a occlusal splints at night
You may not even be aware that you are grinding your teeth, but this can lead to tooth damage, jaw problems and wearing down of enamel. This can cause teeth to feel sore and more sensitive the next day. A mouthguard or splint can help stop you grinding your teeth at night. You can get a custom-made mouthguard or splint from your dentist.
Other causes of sensitive teeth
Teeth may be also painful or sensitive after treatments such as cleaning, fillings, tooth restoration or orthodontic treatment and braces. These symptoms should subside over time, but if they remain persistent it may be worth visiting your dentist again.
Periodontal disease and tooth decay
Plaque build-up on your teeth can cause disease to set it, affecting your teeth and potentially leading to gum disease. This can lead to tooth sensitivity and pain. If you think your sensitivity may be due to decay, gum disease or infection, you should visit us.
It is important not to be put off dental work because of tooth pain. Ignoring your symptoms will most likely only make your problems worse. If you are feeling prolonged sensitivity or pain, be sure to book in for an appointment.