If you have sensitive teeth, you know how frustrating and inconvenient it can be. You must be careful about the types of food you eat and the products you use. Hot and cold temperatures can cause sharp pain. Even brushing your teeth can be a challenge.
But you’re not alone. In fact, according to the American Dental Association, millions of Americans suffer from sensitive teeth. This common problem can be caused by many factors, including gum disease, tooth decay, and worn tooth. The good news is that there are things you can do to ease your discomfort and take control of your oral health. Here are some tips for dealing with sensitive teeth:
1. Talk to Your Dentist About Desensitizing Toothpaste
There are many kinds of toothpaste on the market that can help reduce sensitivity. They work by creating a barrier that protects your teeth from the things that trigger pain, such as hot and cold temperatures or acidic foods. Be sure to talk to your local dentist before using a desensitizing toothpaste, as they can recommend the best one for you based on the severity of your sensitivity.
Know that not every toothpaste will work for everyone. You may have to try a few before you find one that gives you the relief you need. Avoid whitening toothpaste, as they can actually make your sensitivity worse. If you’re not sure which toothpaste to use, ask your dentist for a recommendation.
2. Use a Mouthwash That Contains Fluoride
Fluoride is a mineral that helps strengthen tooth enamel, making it more resistant to the things that cause sensitivity. This can be an effective way to reduce the pain you feel when exposed to hot and cold temperatures. Look for a mouthwash that contains fluoride and use it twice a day after brushing your teeth. You can also get fluoride treatments at a dental office.
Some mouthwashes also contain potassium nitrate, which can help block the pain of sensitive teeth. These can be especially helpful if your sensitivity is severe. Try to avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol, as they can worsen sensitivity.
3. Avoid Foods and Drinks That Aggravate Sensitivity
Certain foods and drinks can make sensitive teeth feel worse. These include very hot or cold items, acidic or sugary. To help prevent triggering pain, avoid these items or at least consume them in moderation. You want to be especially careful with acidic items, as they can wear away at tooth enamel. If you do eat or drink something that aggravates your sensitivity, brush your teeth afterward to help remove any lingering residue.
Some foods, such as bananas, actually contain properties that can help reduce sensitivity. So, if you’re looking for a snack that won’t trigger pain, reach for a banana instead of a candy bar. As always, be sure to brush your teeth afterward.
4. Don’t Brush Too Hard
Brushing too hard can damage tooth enamel, leading to increased sensitivity over time. When brushing your teeth, use gentle circular motions with a soft-bristled brush. Avoid scrubbing vigorously back and forth, as this can worsen sensitivity. You also want to be careful about the type of toothbrush you use. Harder bristles can damage tooth enamel, so opt for a soft-bristled brush instead.
Some people find that an electric toothbrush is more effective at reducing sensitivity. These toothbrushes can be set to a lower speed to avoid damaging teeth. If you’re not sure which type of toothbrush to use, you can look online for some recommendations.
5. Consider Using Fluoride Treatments
If you find that your sensitive teeth aren’t responding well to at-home treatments, consider fluoride treatments. These treatments usually involve applying a fluoride gel or varnish to your teeth to help reduce sensitivity and protect against cavities and tooth decay. This is a procedure that must be done by a dental professional.
Fluoride treatments are usually not covered by dental insurance. However, they may be covered by your regular health insurance. Check with your insurance provider before getting a fluoride treatment to see if it’s covered.
If you have sensitive teeth, there are things you can do to ease your discomfort and take control of your oral health. Be sure to talk to your dental provider about desensitizing toothpaste and fluoride treatments, and use a mouthwash that contains fluoride twice a day after brushing your teeth. You should also avoid foods and drinks that may aggravate sensitivity, brush gently with a soft-bristled brush in circular motions, and consume sugary items in moderation! With these tips, you’ll be on your way to dealing with sensitive teeth like a pro!