Contrary to popular belief, tooth sensitivity isn’t necessarily a sign of anything severe. In addition, a striking proportion of the population in general will suffer from a certain level of sensitivity at some point in their life. For some, it may be a case of just one or two specific teeth which for any given reason become very sensitive. For others, pretty much every tooth from front to back is sensitive.
When you find yourself dealing with sensitive teeth, you suddenly realise how restrictive they can be. Anything particularly hot or cold could be too painful to bear, while the sweet stuff you used to love is now completely out of the question.
So the obvious question is – what can be done about it?
The answer…well, it all comes down to the severity of the case and the uniqueness of each individual mouth. Nevertheless, there are certain ways and means by which sensitivity can be tamed, simply by making a few lifestyle tweaks here and there.
Get to Grips with Grinding
For example, one of the most common causes of sensitive teeth is bruxism – aka tooth grinding. The problem being that many of those who grind their teeth have absolutely no idea they are doing it, given the fact that it often happens during the night while asleep. Grinding can slowly but surely wear away at the teeth, removing their protective surface and exposing the tiny tubes that lead straight to the nerve. Which in turn leads to heightened sensitivity and pain. If you have even the slightest inkling than you may be grinding your teeth, you might want to speak to your dentist.
Gently Does It
In many instances, it’s the good intentions of those concerned which actually steer things in the wrong direction. So many people assume that by brushing their teeth more frequently and more aggressively, they will inherently keep them cleaner and improve their strength/health. In reality, brushing too hard or too often can make sensitivity even worse. The more abrasive you are, the more likely you are to wear away at the protective coating your teeth need. This is one of the reasons why it is a good idea to invest in the very best electric toothbrushyou can lay your hands on. If you choose a model with a built-in pressure-sensor, you will have a much better idea how to brush your teeth without getting carried away.
It’s important to remember that sensitivity isn’t always linked with the areas of the tooth that are most clearly exposed. Quite often, erosion in between the teeth caused by plaque build-up and food debris can lead to the beginning of tooth decay and heightened sensitivity. The same can also be said for acid erosion, which likewise appears between the teeth. One of the best (not to mention the only) ways of preventing this from happening is getting into better habits when it comes to flossing. Traditional floss is better than nothing, but a dentist recommended water flossertakes things to a much higher level. Given the fact that these things aren’t exactly expensive or difficult to use, there’s really no excuse for not stepping things up.
Don’t Be Bitter
On the subject of acid erosion, there are two reasons why it pays to stay away from foods and drinks with overly high acid content. The first of which being that anything particularly acidic could immediately irritate a sensitive tooth and cause significant pain and discomfort. On top of this, the acid in the foods and drinks you consume will have a direct impact on the strength and integrity of the enamel protecting your teeth. The weaker this protective coating becomes, the more severe the sensitivity you can expect to feel. As such, two very good reasons to be careful when it comes to the everyday acids in your diet.
Focus on Fluoride
Fluoride is just about the best weapon at your disposal, when it comes to the everyday prevention and treatment of sensitive teeth. The simple fact of the matter is that whatever toothpaste and mouthwash you decide to use, you should ensure that they have the highest possible levels of fluoride. If things are particularly severe, your dentist may be able to prescribe you a specialist product which contains more fluoride that can be sold over the counter without a prescription. Even after just a few uses, it’s amazing the difference a high-fluoride paste can make.
Likewise, some of the specialist sensitive products on the market right now can be surprisingly helpful. Some contain acid neutralisers, others focus on fluoride and then there are those that are genuinely able to bring relief from the first use. Over time, such products have a cumulative effect and can to a certain extent eliminate the pain and discomfort of sensitive teeth. Once again however, it’s worth bringing particularly severe cases to the attention of your dentist for advice.
Here’s an interesting tip that often works if you have just one or two particularly sensitive teeth. Take a generous amount of a high-quality sensitive toothpaste and smear it directly on the offending tooth with your fingertip. Make sure the tooth is liberally coated and then leave it there for a few minutes. During which time, you will need to ensure that you do not swallow the toothpaste, given the way in which it probably has a relatively high fluoride content. It’s tricky to say the least, but upon spitting out the excess and brushing your teeth as normal, you might find that it instantly reduces the sensitivity of the tooth quite drastically.
Last but not least, there’s very little more harmful for your teeth, gums and oral health in general than a lack of hydration. Particularly when it comes to sensitive teeth, you need to ensure that your mouth has plenty of the good stuff it needs to stay as clean and healthy as possible. Long story short – remain well hydrated at all times.