If you feel a sharp pain in your teeth when you sip on hot coffee or drink cold water, then you are familiar with the distinctive discomfort that sensitive teeth can cause. Sensitive teeth are usually caused by erosion of the hard tooth enamel, which exposes the softer dentin underneath. Dentin is full of tiny holes containing sensitive nerve endings, which respond to triggers like hot and cold. Fortunately, you don’t have to continue suffering with sensitive teeth. With a little help from your dentist along with the following tips, you can restore your teeth and reduce the discomfort of tooth sensitivity.
Use the right toothpaste.
Regular brushing with toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth can help to shore up the tooth enamel and reduce sensitivity. These types of toothpastes contain the active ingredient potassium nitrate in addition to fluoride, and this will eventually help block off openings in the dentin where nerves are exposed. Additionally, you may need to change up your toothbrush and brushing habits. When you brush, do not scrub aggressively. Instead, make gentle circles without applying heavy pressure, and always be sure to use a soft-bristled brush.
Talk to your dentist about tooth grinding.
If your tooth sensitivity is accompanied by headaches and jaw pain, then tooth grinding may be to blame. Since tooth grinding typically takes place during sleep, you might not know you do it until your dentist spots the signs. To put a stop to grinding your teeth, your dentist may prescribe a mouthguard to wear at night. The dentist may also be able to apply coatings to the teeth to desensitize them.
Stay away from acidic foods and drinks.
Many people think of sugar as the natural enemy of the teeth, but acid can actually do the most damage on its own. Acidic foods and beverages can cause the enamel to erode, so you may need to cut down on sodas, wine, coffee, and certain fruits. If you do consume acidic foods and drinks, wait at least an hour to brush your teeth after, since the combination of acid and brushing can do even more damage to the enamel.
At the office of Dr. John R. Carson, DDS, you will find exceptional care for your smile with solutions for everything from tooth sensitivity to sleep apnea. To schedule an appointment in our Tucson dentist’s office, call (520) 514-7203.