Sensitive teeth are a common condition that can arise due to a number of different health conditions or medications. Many people will suffer from this condition at some point in their lives. In fact, a study released in 2013 claims that 1 in 8 people experience sensitive teeth.
The most common reason people suffer from sensitive teeth is when enamel is worn away, and dentin is exposed. Dentin is the tissue inside the tooth which contains nerve fibers. Dentin may become exposed due to trauma, decay, or recessed gums. And when your dentin is exposed, every change in temperature and every movement in your mouth can affect the nerve endings and send shooting pain through your mouth!
Visiting your dentist for regular dental checkups is vital to keeping tooth decay, periodontal disease and other oral problems at bay, and so that may be detected and treated in the early stages.
Below are some tips to help you deal with your sensitive teeth and ease your discomfort. Of course, if symptoms persist or worsen, make sure to pay a visit to the dentist.
- Blush and Floss: Cleaning teeth properly and regularly is the first defense against sensitive teeth – preventing the growth of plaque that wears down the enamel in the first place is an important step.
- Try desensitizing toothpaste: Some over-the-counter solutions contain compounds that help block sensation from travelling to the tooth surface, which may help soothe teeth.
- Use a fluoride rinse or gel: Fluoride rinses—found with or without a prescription—can help decrease sensitivity, especially in people with a greater amount of decay. If the pain persists, your dentist may suggest an in-office treatment such as fluoride gel, which may be applied to the sensitive areas of the teeth to reduce the pain.
- Update your toothbrush & brush gently: Dentists also recommend using soft-bristled toothbrushes to limit abrasion and keep your teeth feeling healthy. Be sure to avoid vigorous or harsh scrubbing as well as excessive brushing/flossing, as this will increase the symptoms.
- Quit the dip and limit the drinks: There is no safe tobacco. Chewing it or using it as “dip” or “snuff” is known to cause mouth cancer and increase teeth sensitivity. Also, carbonated drinks, citrus fruits, wine and yogurt all can wear away at tooth enamel. Try cutting back on these substances to help decrease your sensitive teeth.
- Cover exposed root surfaces: If receding gums are the cause of your sensitive teeth, your dentist might apply a sealant to cover the exposed tooth roots. But if the sensitivity continues or worsens, your dentist may recommend you have a root canal.
Remember, you are not alone when it comes to sensitive teeth! Don’t let sensitive teeth wear you down – your dentist will be able to work with you to ease your pain.
 Storrs, Carina. "1 in 8 Adults May Have Sensitive Teeth." Consumer HealthDay. HealthDay, 1 Mar. 2013. Web. 29 Jan. 2014. <http://consumer.healthday.com/dental-and-oral-information-9/misc-dental-problem-news-174/1-in-8-adults-may-have-sensitive-teeth-673981.html>.