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How To Desensitize Sensitive Teeth

By on August 28, 2012

If you have sensitive teeth, then you would probably know how hard it is to take care of the same. Sensitive teeth can cause extreme pain and discomfort when they come in contact with hot, cold, sweet, sour and even spicy foods. In these cases, simply biting down on a food can trigger off violent bouts of pain that would leave you with no other option but spit out the food from your mouth.

Desensitize Sensitive Teeth

The tooth is said to be made of four protective layers. These include the cementum, pulp, inner dentin and outer enamel. With time (and improper oral hygiene), the outer enamel would wear off. When this happens, anything from the foods that you eat, the fluids that you drink or even the air that you breathe in can come in direct contact with the inner dentin tubules. This in turn would disturb the nerve endings of the tooth, causing immense pain in the area.

Desensitize Sensitive Teeth

Caring for sensitive teeth can be a cumbersome task. However, with the right tools and a little bit of knowhow, you can effectively desensitize the sensitive teeth to a great extent. And given below are some tips that would help you achieve just that.

Understanding The Basic Causes

An important step in desensitizing sensitive teeth deals with knowing the basic reasons why teeth can become sensitive in the first place. Understanding the causes for the condition would in turn help you handle sensitive teeth better. Accordingly, some of the more important causes for sensitive teeth include:-

Foods That You Eat

Tomatoes

Certain acidic foods like tomatoes, lemon, pickles, or tea etc. can cause teeth sensitivity. The high acid levels in these foods would cause the outer protective tooth enamel to erode away, thus exposing the dentin and increasing sensitivity.

Rigorous Brushing

Rigorous Brushing

In sharp contrast to the popular notion that brushing hard can keep your teeth clean, it has been noted that rigorous brushing (especially with toothbrushes that contain hard bristles) can cause the enamel to wear down and expose the dentin, or cause the gum tissue to recede away from the teeth, causing gum recession. Both these conditions can increase teeth sensitivity.

Prolonged Use of Mouthwashes

Certain mouthwashes contain high acid levels aimed at killing the bacteria present in the mouth. However, with time the acid can cause enamel erosion in addition to directly affecting the inner dentin as well. This can increase teeth sensitivity and cause extreme pain and discomfort at regular intervals.

Increased Use of Teeth Whitening Products

As in the previous case, many teeth whitening products contain high acid levels that can affect teeth enamel and aggravate teeth sensitivity.

Tooth Decay, Cracked/Chipped/Broken Teeth, Tooth Loss

All these conditions can potentially contribute to teeth sensitivity.

How To Desensitize Sensitive Teeth

Source: http://abqnmdentist.com/2011/07/13/does-fluoride-prevent-cavities/

A decayed tooth can attract bacterial infection that can easily reach the root. Again, conditions like tooth loss or chipped/broken/cracked teeth can invite bacteria to reside in the gaps, thus causing infections that can affect the pulp and increase teeth sensitivity.

Gum Diseases

Periodontal disease would cause gum recession wherein the gums would move away from the teeth and expose the root, thereby increasing sensitivity. Conditions like gingivitis can lead to the loss of the ligaments supporting the teeth which would in turn expose the roots.

Teeth Grinding/Clenching

Actions like clenching or grinding the teeth can cause the enamel to wear away, thus increasing teeth sensitivity by exposing the inner dentin and pulp.

Dental Procedures

Procedures like teeth cleaning, teeth whitening, teeth restoration, root planning, crown replacement etc. can cause teeth sensitivity for a few weeks afterwards.

Tips To Help Desensitize Sensitive Teeth

Here are a few simple, but really effective tips that can help you handle sensitive teeth better.

Proper Oral Hygiene

How To Desensitize Sensitive Teeth

It is a must that you practice proper oral hygiene regularly to protect your teeth. Regular brushing and flossing should be followed by rinsing to avoid plaque buildup or diseases that can cause teeth sensitivity.

A Soft Toothbrush

Opt for mild headed, soft toothbrushes that would not damage the teeth enamel. Make sure you cover all areas of the mouth, including the gums and the tongue to get rid of food, debris or other unwanted particles that could have got stuck somewhere.

A Soft Toothbrush

Brush gently and make sure you change your toothbrush once every two months or so.

Use Desensitizing Toothpaste

Check with your dentist for special toothpastes that would cater to sensitive teeth. A desensitizing toothpaste would work well in case you have highly sensitive teeth. Desensitizing toothpastes contain substances that help fill up the tubules present in the inner dentin, thereby reducing teeth sensitivity.

In addition to brushing your teeth with the toothpaste, you can dab a small amount of it onto a cotton ball and place the same in the most sensitive areas of the mouth. Alternatively, you can also apply some desensitizing toothpaste directly over the sensitive teeth before you go to bed every night and then spit it out (don’t rinse) the next morning.

Use a Fluoridated Mouth Washes/Rinses

A neutral fluoride solution would act as an effective rinse for sensitive teeth. You can opt for over the counter fluoride mouth washes/rinses or opt for the ones prescribed by your dentist.

Rinse Mouth

Rinse your mouth every time you brush your teeth. Swish the mouth wash/rinse around your mouth for about a minute, concentrating more on the sensitive regions before spitting it out. Repeat the same religiously for best results.

Fluoride Gels for Sensitivity

In case the sensitivity arises from a dental procedure like a root canal treatment or teeth straightening, the dentist would prescribe a fluoride gel that you can apply on the sensitive areas for a few weeks until the sensation decreases.

Foods to Avoid

If you experience teeth sensitivity, try cutting down on foods that would aggravate the condition. For instance, foods which are hard to bite down like raw vegetables and fruits and those that are hard to chew (like meat) need to be avoided.

Candies

Stay away from very hot, cold, spicy, sweet or sour foods until the sensitivity decreases. Chewing tobacco and candy etc. can also cause the teeth enamel to erode and cause sensitivity.

Opt for Mouth Guards

Try not to grind or clench your teeth. If you seem to do the same while sleeping, opt for a mouth guard that would keep your teeth safe.

Regular Visits to the Dentist

Opt for a dental checkup at least once every 6 months or so to keep teeth sensitivity at bay. Professional teeth cleaning and fluoride treatments can help desensitize sensitive teeth in addition to keeping them that way for longer periods.

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