What Causes Sensitive Teeth?
Dentine hypersensitivity, or tooth sensitivity, is a common dental problem. It’s a condition that can develop over time, as a result of common problems such as receding gums and enamel wear.
Most sufferers are between 20 and 50 years old. Tooth sensitivity can start to happen when the softer, inner part of the tooth called ‘dentine’ becomes exposed.
Dentine lies under the enamel and the gums.
Thousands of microscopic channels run through the dentine towards the centre of the tooth.
Once the dentine is exposed, external triggers (such as a cold drink) can stimulate the nerves inside the tooth, resulting in the characteristic short, sharp pain of tooth sensitivity.
Only a dentist can confirm you have dentine hypersensitivity.
If you are experiencing any dental problems, always consult your dentist for advice.
If you have dentine hypersensitivity, you can help to minimise further exposure of the dentine, care for your sensitive teeth and relieve the painful symptoms by making some simple changes to your daily oral care routine and dietary habits.
10 Methods to Relieve Tooth Pains
1. Strengthen Your Enamel
Don’t abandon your enamel. Afterall, it is your first defense against adverse conditions in the mouth.
You can help remineralize and strengthen the surface of your teeth by brushing daily with a fluoride enriched toothpaste.
The American Dental Association recommends that adults brush with fluoride twice a day.
2. Salt Water Rinse
Salt water can also help relieve tooth sensitivity fast. It not only improves the pH balance of the mouth to create a more alkaline environment in which harmful bacteria are unable to survive, it’s a natural antiseptic to reduce plaque buildup, delivering what you might call a special two-for-one deal.
To use a salt water rinse, add two teaspoons of sea salt to warm water and mix well until the salt is completely dissolved. Rinse your mouth with this solution twice each day, morning and night, to reduce sensitivity and pain.
3. Preventive Care, Preventive Care, Preventive Care
Sensitive teeth are a surefire sign that something is amiss in your mouth. If you don’t already have one, schedule an appointment with a dentist.
Routine x-rays can help identify decay early. Biyearly cleaning can remove stubborn plaque and keep your mouth in good working order.
Establish a routine and stick to it! Studies show that brushing and flossing daily can prevent tooth decay and gingivitis.
Be sure you are using a thick, soft bristle toothbrush. Hard, rough plastic can stimulate pain when it penetrates soft, exposed dentin.
Try running your toothbrush under hot water to soften up the bristles before brushing.
While garlic isn’t going to do your breath any favors, it offers a number of compounds that are beneficial to oral, and overall, health, including allicin, a powerful antibacterial agent and a natural anesthetic.
It can help relieve pain resulting from tooth sensitivity, and even problems as serious as an abscess infection.
It also helps kill the germs that cause oral infections and cavities. If you’re worried about bad breath, after using this remedy, simply chew on a couple sprigs of parsley, is does the trick amazingly well.
To use garlic to decrease sensitivity and soothe pain, make a paste by combining one crushed garlic clove, 2 to 3 drops of water and about a half-teaspoon of sea salt.
Apply it directly onto the affected teeth. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, and then rinse with warm salt water. Repeat twice daily as long as needed.
You can also utilize garlic another way – cut a clove in half, and then gently rub the cut side against the affected teeth for about 10 minutes.
Afterward, rinse with warm salt water. Repeat two or three times each day, or as needed.
Onion has an effect that’s similar to garlic and contains flavonoids, including quercetin, that is known to offer anti-inflammatory properties, which can soothe the pain that results from tooth sensitivity.
Its antimicrobial compounds also help to kill harmful bacteria in the mouth that can lead to an oral infection.
Cut a piece of onion to a small enough size that it will easily, and comfortably fit into your mouth. Place the onion slice on the affected teeth, and hold it there for at least five minutes.
The antiseptic properties of the onion will kill the bacteria in the mouth, which contributes to the pain.
After taking it out, thoroughly rinse your mouth with salt water to prevent onion breath – if needed, as with the garlic, you can chew on a couple of parsley springs too.
Repeat 2 to 3 times each day as necessary.
6. Guard Against Tooth Pain
If you suspect your tooth sensitivity may be linked to nighttime grinding, talk with your dentist about wearing an overnight mouthguard.
Oftentimes, a dentist can create a custom-fitted mouthguard that can protect your teeth from premature wear.
Drugstores also stock a variety of over-the-counter guards designed to prevent nighttime grinding.
7. Chew Gum
This suggestion may sound odd.
You may be thinking, how does giving your teeth more work help soothe them? However, chewing sugar-free gum produces saliva that helps to harden tooth enamel.
Be sure you’ve purchased a sugar-free option. Sugary gums leave behind a residue that can inevitably worsen the conditions causing your sensitivity!
8. Fluoride Rinse
Find a way to incorporate fluoride into your oral hygiene routine. This all-natural mineral compound can help strengthen your enamel.
Enamel, or the hard, outer layer of the tooth, provides a protective layer between the sensitive root and nerves and the harsh elements within the mouth.
Fluoride can help strengthen and even rebuilt some lost enamel. Try this natural wonder in liquid form to quickly and efficiently coat your teeth.
Scientists agree that fluoride is effective and safe.
In fact, many cities across the country have invested in adding fluoride to their public water sources because of the dramatic decrease in cavities that often come as a result.
9. Skip the Whitening Treatment
Sparkly, white teeth are impressive, but they often come at a cost. Whitening treatments often contain chemicals that can irritate your tooth nerves.
If you’re looking to give your teeth a break, steer clear of any over the counter whitening agents.
Clean your teeth often, especially after consuming sugary or acidic foods. Cleaning your teeth often will prevent stains.
According to the American Dental Association, factors such as age often result in thinning enamel. This reveals more dentin, which is a yellowish color.
While you cannot turn back the clock, you can avoid staining foods such as coffee, tea, and red wine.
10. Sensitive Toothpaste
Before you go blaming all your sensitivity issues on your teeth, consider changing some factors you can control.
Potassium nitrate is a common ingredient in desensitizing toothpaste. It is used to block pain signals.
There are also many products that contain all-natural ingredients that are less harsh than their synthetic counterparts. Look for these!
Toothpaste is typically formulated with abrasive ingredients that help to remove plaque from the surface of the tooth. However, many over-the-counter pastes do have the potential to damage your enamel or dentin.
Low abrasion toothpaste is defined by its RDA or Relative Dentin Abrasivity.