Roughly 1 in 8 people suffer from sensitive teeth, according to the Journal of American Dentistry. If you’ve always assumed that your teeth are sensitive either due to bad luck or bad genetics, think again! Your sensitivity could be triggered by controllable variables like improper brushing or too many sugary drinks.
Finally, find relief and follow these proven treatments for reducing tooth sensitivity at home.
Determine What’s Causing Your Sensitivity
The interior chambers of your teeth are primarily made up of a material called dentin, which contains microscopic tubules filled with tiny nerve endings. A hard outer layer of enamel protects the dentin within your tooth in addition to the dentin that extends down to the root of the tooth. Tooth sensitivity or nerve irritation occurs whenever dentin loses its protective covering of enamel or cementum, exposing the nerve endings to hot, cold, acidic, or sticky foods.
Controllable factors that may be triggering your sensitivity include:
- Improper brushing
- Periodontal disease
- Tooth decay
- Exposed roots at the gumline
- Aggressive brushing
- Wearing away of the enamel
Brush With Care
Vigorous brushing doesn’t make your teeth any cleaner, but it can increase your risk for tooth sensitivity. Rough brushing causes your gums to pull away from your teeth, exposing the nerve, which leads to tooth pain. Use short strokes while brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush with the ADA seal of approval. Gentle up and down motions, not from side-to-side, is an effective solution to finding relief.
Switch To a Desensitizing Toothpaste
Brushing with a specially-designed toothpaste that contains desensitizing compounds can help to shield nerve endings from irritants. The most active ingredient is potassium nitrate, which aids in blocking pain signals traveling from a nerve in your tooth to your brain. After a few simple uses, extreme tooth sensitivity will begin to reduce significantly.
Incorporate Mouthwash With Fluoride
Using a fluoride mouthwash helps to strengthen your tooth’s enamel layer, which helps to protect against tooth sensitivity. Fluoride also helps to protect against tooth decay and cavities while remineralizing soft spots. Using a fluoride mouthwash daily after brushing your teeth is a simple and cost-effective way to reduce tooth sensitivity.
Sleep With a Night Guard
Your tooth sensitivity could be caused by grinding your teeth at night while you sleep - even if you don’t realize it! Teeth grinding can quickly wear away tooth enamel, causing teeth to feel sore and sensitive. A night guard can help keep you from grinding your teeth while sleeping. A night guard acts as a protective barrier between your teeth to protect your enamel. A custom night guard can be created for you by your dentist for a comfortable fit that won’t disrupt your sleep.
Stay Away From Whitening Agents
At-home teeth whitening kits and in-office whitening treatments can both lead to tooth sensitivity. If you’re suffering from oversensitive teeth after using whitening products, let your dentist know at your next exam. There are several ways to achieve a whiter smile without using harsh bleaching compounds. Many at-home teeth whitening brands have specially designed kits for those sensitive to whitening products.
Discuss In-Office Treatments With Your Dentist
If you’ve made changes in an attempt to reduce tooth sensitivity, yet you are still experiencing frequent discomfort, talk to your dentist. In-office dental treatments such as gel fluoride, crowns, inlays, or dental bonding can all help to cover up sensitive trigger areas on your teeth. For severe cases, a gum graft can help to manage discomfort if the cause is from your gum tissue pulling away from the tooth.
Don’t suffer in silence from tooth sensitivity. Contact Tompkins Dental today so we can help you find a treatment option that works for you.