A variety of products can help ease the pain of sensitive teeth, but do they truly help you overcome the root of the problem?
Knowing why your teeth have turned sensitive — making it difficult for you to eat certain foods and drink hot or cold liquids — can help you correct the issue, improving your long-term dental health.
Why Are Your Teeth Sensitive?
Your sensitive teeth are a result of inadequate enamel protection. Enamel is the first layer of the tooth, covering the entire visible portion. Cementum is like enamel, but it’s below the gum line, protecting the roots of the teeth. Beneath the enamel and cementum is a material called dentin.
Dentin is softer than enamel and contains tubes which hold the nerve endings of your teeth. When the dentin is exposed due to enamel erosion, you feel sharp, shooting pain. Sometimes even just taking a breath can make your hypersensitive teeth hurt.
How Does Desensitizing Toothpaste Help?
Using a desensitizing toothpaste is a must. Most of these products contain either potassium nitrate or strontium chloride. These elements block pain receptors and allow your sensitive teeth to function normally, but they do not address the root of the problem. They only mask symptoms to decrease discomfort — it isn’t a long-term solution.
Treat the Underlying Cause
Enamel wears down each and every day when you eat and drink foods and beverages that are acidic. If you grind your teeth excessively, this also can lead to a breakdown in the enamel. If you brush your teeth too vigorously, this also could be contributing to the problem.
Gum disease can cause decay and receding gums — two issues that also affect the health of your tooth enamel. With so many potential reasons for the condition, it is vital to see a dentist so you can get a personal diagnosis.
Alter Your Oral Health Care Routine
When you replace your regular toothpaste with desensitizing toothpaste, be sure to follow the instructions in order to see fast results. Some toothpastes require you to apply the product gently and not rinse for up to a half-hour so the active ingredients have a chance to work.
Regardless of the cause of your sensitive teeth, you should also purchase a soft-bristled brush and treat your teeth gently. If you can’t stop grinding your teeth, talk to your dentist about wearing a mouthguard to bed at night.
Finally, adjust your diet and you could see a major difference as well. Avoid acidic foods and drinks like yogurt, coffee and wine. Always rinse your mouth after eating and drinking.
If you have extremely sensitive teeth and need professional guidance on permanent treatment options, talk to the team at Oak Hills Dentistry — and learn more about the ways to relieve pain for the long-term.