Tooth sensitivity is a far more common issue than most people realise. In fact, research suggests that around one in every eight people has the kind of sensitivity that can be genuinely life-affecting.
Contrary to popular belief, sensitivity doesn’t necessarily have to affect all of the teethin your mouth. In most instances, patients reporting sensitive teeth experience quite extreme sensitivity in certain areas of the mouth, though aren’t nearly as badly affected elsewhere.
As for what it is that causes sensitive teeth, the short answer is nothing and everything. Vague to say the least, but the simple fact of the matter is that sensitive teeth can affect anyone at any time and for no specific reason. There are certain bad habits that can certainly increase the likelihood of developing sensitivity, but in most cases there is no specific explanation whatsoever.
The good news is that in an age of technology and science, there are countless avenues to explore for those looking to relieve the pain and discomfort of sensitive teeth. Which is exactly what most of those concerned do. Nevertheless, evidence suggests that a surprising proportion of patients with sensitive teeth do absolutely nothing to combat the problem. Despite the fact that a few simple lifestyle changes really could make all the difference – perhaps even eliminating the problem in its entirety.
So with this in mind, what follows is a brief overview of just a few of the most common mistakes made by patients with sensitive teeth across the UK:
1. Not using toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth
First up, you’ll typically find that a high-quality toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth is somewhat more expensive than a generic paste. Nevertheless, it’s worth remembering that what you’re looking at is not just an oral hygiene product, but also a treatment for a condition that’s affecting your life. Tried and tested for decades, premium toothpastes designed for sensitive teeth can and often do make an incredible difference.
2. Using sensitive toothpaste but giving up too soon
That said, if you do go ahead and invest in a decent toothpaste, it’s worth remembering that you can’t realistically expect miraculous results overnight. In most instances, even the best toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth builds a cumulative effect over time. Or to put it another way, you may need to use it for several weeks before the full benefits become apparent. This will usually be communicated relatively clearly on the packaging. In any case, giving up too soon and switching back to a generic toothpaste is rarely a good idea.
3. Overlooking the importance of mouthwash
A high-quality, dentist-recommended mouthwashis of the utmost importance for general oral health and hygiene. Nevertheless, there are certain mouthwashes for sensitive teethon the market today that have been clinically proven as enormously effective. It’s typically the same case, where on-going use builds a cumulative effect that can be maintained indefinitely. Quality sensitive mouthwash products may carry a premium price tag, but it is nonetheless a small price to pay for such a welcome relief.
4. Brushing too hard or too often
Many well-meaning patients with sensitive teeth genuinely believe that the more frequently and vigorously they clean their teeth, the stronger they will become as a result. Technically speaking, keeping your teeth and gums as clean as possible throughout the day is indeed a great way of protecting them from the kind of attacks that can increase sensitivity. Unfortunately, brushing your teeth toooften or toovigorously can have the exact opposite of the intended effect. Dentists comprehensively recommend brushing your teeth twice a day, using a high-quality electric toothbrush and ensuring you never put too much pressure on your teeth. Get carried away with your good intentions and you could be making your sensitivity even worse.
5. Not exclusively using soft-bristle brushes
Likewise, dentists worldwide are continuously urging their patients to steer clear of stiff bristles at all costs. Particularly in the case of those with sensitive teeth, anything other than a soft toothbrush could potentially be doing more harm than good. Time and time again, research has shown that softer toothbrushes are just as capable of cleaning the mouth efficiently as any other type of brush. The problem being that the harder the bristles, the more likely they are to wear away the enamel you really can’t afford to lose. If possible, pick up a brush that’s designed specifically for sensitive teeth.
6. Overlooking grinding
If you’re aware of the fact that you occasionally or regularly grind your teeth, it’s important not to simply overlook or ignore it. Teeth grinding is one of the most common causes of sensitivity, while at the same time making existing cases of sensitivity far worse. Along with sensitivity, bruxism can pave the way for an extensive range of other oral health problems – some being more serious than others. The problem being that in many cases, those who suffer from bruxism are unaware of it, due to it taking place predominantly while asleep. If you have any concerns whatsoever regarding teeth grinding, speak to your dentist as soon as possible.
7. Poor dietary habits
Pretty much anything that’s considered bad for your teeth is almost guaranteed to exacerbate sensitivity in those already experiencing pain and discomfort. Acidic foods and drinks, anything with vast quantities of sugar and so on – all the kinds of things that quickly eat away at the surface of the tooth. Anyone with sensitive teeth would be wise to limit the intake of such foods and drinks, reaching for a stick of gum or a swig of mouthwash after consuming anything potentially harmful.
8. Using whitening products
Last but not least, there are certain teeth whitening products and kits on the market today that are designed specifically for those with sensitive teeth. The problem is that anything else could make the problem far worse than it already is. It’s important to remember that many whitening kits utilise any number of potent chemicals to get the job done. So while they may be effective in whitening your teeth, you could also be left with teeth significantly more sensitive than they were before. Once again, speak to your dentist if you have any questions or concerns.