How to Treat Sensitive TeethSensitive Teeth picture from bioteamsouth.org
Sensitive teeth is sensation felt when the nerves inside the dentin of the teeth are exposed to the environment. The sensation can range from irritation all the way to intense, shooting pain. This sensitivity can be caused by several factors, including wear, decaying teeth or exposed tooth roots.
A study conducted at Queen’s University, Belfast, determined that the prevalence of reported sensitivity was 57.2%. In most cases the incidence occurred in the 30-39 year age group. Although the majority of individuals reported that cold was the major stimulus for pain, other causes such as toothbrushing, hot, and sweet stimuli were reported as well.
This study found the prevalence of dentine sensitivity to be much higher than in previous reports. These results suggest an increase in the levels of sensitivity within the general population. Sensitive teeth are a terrible nuisance! You can’t concentrate when you’ve got sensitive teeth because each breath brings with it a bunch of pain.
Even touching your teeth with your tongue can be painful and I’ve found it’s especially bad during a sudden climate change – my teeth go nuts! And so do I! Well donâ€™t panic! There is really nothing more wrong with you than sensitive teeth. Some people are born with sensitive teeth but in the majority of cases it developed over time. Tooth decay, broken teeth and even some tooth whitening products can cause sensitive teeth.
The dentin is the inner payer of teeth. It is the part of the tooth that is actually sensitive to hot, cold and sweets. Sometimes people experience pain when the brush and floss their teeth adding to the problem. If sensitive teeth are a problem the first thing that you should do is consult your dentist. If tooth decay and gum disease are ruled out as the causes, then a fluoride treatment may be recommended.
There are also several tooth pastes available designed specifically for sensitive teeth. Keeping a good balance of minerals in the mouth will also help in the fight against sensitive teeth. The teeth undergo two processes; one is called demineralization and the other remineralization. Tooth decay will not happen as well as sensitive teeth. Your dentist can also recommend several specialist tooth pastes designed for this purpose.
This comes as a surprise to many but chewing sugarless gum can help remineralize the teeth. Saliva flow can also be increases by eating food high in fiber. Sensitive teeth can be painful. Tooth decay, gum disease and enamel wearing are all things that can be cured by a dentist provided it isnâ€™t left too long.
Brushing, flossing and eating healthy can stop the bacteria from attacking the outer enamel. Chewing sugarless gum and eating a fiber rich diet can also help remineralize the teeth so this problem doesnâ€™t happen.
What causes sensitive teeth?
The part of the tooth we can see is covered by a layer of enamel that protects the softer dentine underneath.If the dentine is exposed, a tooth can become sensitive. This usually happens where the tooth and the gum meet and the enamel layer is much thinner.Here are some causes of sensitivity.
Toothbrush abrasion â€“ brushing too hard, and brushing from side to side, can cause dentine to be worn away, particularly where the teeth meet the gums. The freshly exposed dentine may then become sensitive.
Dental erosion â€“ this is loss of tooth enamel caused by attacks of acid from acidic food and drinks. If enamel is worn away the dentine underneath is exposed, which may lead to sensitivity.
Gum recession â€“ gums may naturally recede (shrink back), and the roots will become exposed and can be more sensitive. Root surfaces do not have an enamel layer to protect them.
Gum disease â€“ a build-up of plaque or tartar can cause the gum to recede down the tooth and even destroy the bony support of the tooth. Pockets can form in the gums around the tooth, making the area difficult to keep clean and the problem worse.
Here are some solutions to help you cope with sensitive teeth:
- Use a fluffy brush as it gives less pressure when brushing teeth
- Use toothpaste recommended by dentists to help reduce tooth sensitivity gradually.
- Refrain from using alcohol-based mouthwash which is freely available on the market because they tend to damage the teeth.
- Avoid eating highly acidic foods, red meat, and spicy foods.
- Use a fluoride toothpaste
- Avoid foods and beverages that triggers tooth sensitivity, like ice cream, drinking hot beverages, or ones too cold
- Visit your dentist regularly.
- Managing dentinal hypersensitivity”.;http://www.dental-tribune.com/articles/content/id/1968/scope/specialities/section/dental_hygiene
- “Prevention of Dentin Hypersensitivity”;http://jada.ada.org/cgi/content/full/137/7/990#R6
- “Prevalence of dentine hypersensitivity in a general dental population”;http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9584750?dopt=Abstract
- Poulsen S, Errboe M, Lescay Mevil Y, Glenny A-M (2001). “Potassium containing toothpastes for dentine hypersensitivity”. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 3 (2): CD001476. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001476.pub2. PMID 16855970.;http://www.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab001476.html