When you eat ice cream or drink a cold glass of water do you find yourself saying “ouch”? How about when you’re brushing or flossing your teeth? You may have what is known as tooth sensitivity. This doesn’t mean you have to put up with the pain! There are things you can do to improve your tooth sensitivity and oral health. You may be experiencing this irritation for the following reasons:
- You’re brushing too aggressively. Tooth sensitivity can stem from brushing with excessive force, or with bristles that are too hard. This wears down the protective layers of your teeth over time, exposing the microscopic pathways that lead your dental nerves. When these pathways become exposed, hot or cold foods and drinks can cause sensitivity for your teeth. The simple solution is to brush your teeth less aggressively and to use a soft bristled toothbrush.
- You’re may be eating too many acidic foods. Acidic foods, such as lemon, grapefruit, and tomato sauce can cause pain if the pathways leading to your dental nerves are exposed. The pathways can become exposed from a diet too high in acidity. The best solution is to reduce or eliminate acidic foods from your diet. It’s also good to gargle water after eating acidic foods. You should never brush your teeth immediately after eating something that is acidic, as this can wear down the tooth enamel.
- Tooth whitening toothpaste may not be a good option for you. Many types of toothpaste contain whitening agents that may irritate your teeth. If this is the case for you, you should switch to toothpaste that does not contain these whitening agents.
- You use mouthwash too often. Like whitening toothpastes, some mouthwashes contain alcohol and other ingredients that can cause your enamel to wear down. This can cause tooth sensitivity. It’s best to use neutral fluoride rinses instead, as they are less harsh on your teeth.
- You may have gum disease. It’s common for the gums to recede with age, especially if you have not practiced good dental health. This can cause tooth sensitivity, which may be a result of gum disease or gingivitis. In this case, you should visit your dentist who can treat you.
- You may have an excessive buildup of plaque. Excessive plaque can cause the tooth enamel to wear away. As the enamel wears away, your teeth can become more and more sensitive. You should practice good dental care and visit your dentist every six months for cleanings.
- You just had a dental procedure. It’s common to experience tooth sensitivity after a recent dental procedure. If you’ve recently had root canal, extraction, or a crown, tooth sensitivity is normal and should subside shortly. If you’re still experiencing sensitivity, and it has been some time since your procedure, you should visit your dentist for further examination.
Tooth sensitivity is frustrating, but it is treatable. You can even use toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth to help alleviate any pain. However, this does not work for everyone. If after following these tips your teeth are still sensitive we recommend coming in for a consultation.