Tooth sensitivity can be both annoying and painful. Usually, the pain comes with eating and drinking extremely hot and cold beverages, but it can worsen to the point where even breathing in cold air with your mouth open leads to pain. There are two reasons why this may happen – either the gums surrounding your teeth have begun to recede, exposing more of the sensitive roots of your teeth, or your tooth enamel has thinned or chipped. Thankfully, tooth sensitivity isn’t something that you’re stuck with, no matter its cause. You can halt the pain in its tracks with one of these methods.
1) Use Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth
This is the simplest – and least expensive – solution. There are several different types of sensitive tooth toothpaste on the market, and you should have no problem finding one in your price range. These toothpastes are designed to keep your teeth’s nerves from being so sensitive. They work kind of like a nerve block, only without the surgery and recovery time. Although these toothpastes have been proven to work, you do have to keep using them. If you go back to regular toothpaste, then you lose the benefits, and the pain will reoccur. It may also take a few days before this sensitive tooth toothpaste will kick in and begin to work, so you do need to be patient with it.
2) Solve the Root of the Problem (No Pun Intended)
There are two main reasons why your teeth may be sensitive. As we explained above, this is either due to gum recession or loss of enamel. Your dentist can do a few procedures to fix these problems. Gum recession is usually treated with gum surgery. The dentist will use some of the tissue from elsewhere in your mouth – either your lower gums or from the roof of your mouth – and transplant it into the recessed spot. Once everything has healed, your teeth will be less sensitive. If the pain is due to a loss of tooth enamel, then your dentist can apply a special gel that will strengthen your teeth. This will coat the enamel, making it stronger and less sensitive. Obviously, the recovery time for this procedure is much smaller. Other dentist-related solutions include root canals, capping your teeth with crowns, and getting fillings. This is in case the pain is caused by a cavity or root exposure.
3) Start Chewing Gum Regularly
This sounds like a weird solution, but it actually works. Gum works to strengthen your tooth enamel in a kind of roundabout way. The act of chewing forces your mouth to produce saliva. This saliva then strengthens your tooth enamel. Chewing gum can also prevent you from clenching your jaw, which is another reason why your teeth may be sensitive – clenching can lead to tooth grinding, which leads to damage and enamel loss. One tip: make sure that your gum is sugar-free. Anything else can lead to tooth decay, making the problem worse.
4) Use Mouthwash That Restores Your Tooth Enamel
Just as there are toothpastes available over the counter that can help your nerve sensitivity, there are mouthwashes that restore your tooth enamel. As long as you follow the instructions, which usually include not eating or drinking anything for around a half hour after rinsing with one of these mouthwashes, your enamel will begin to strengthen. Once it does, you tooth sensitivity will begin to go away. How do these mouthwashes work? They leave behind microscopic particles that adhere to your teeth, forming a layer of protection. Although the sensitivity might decrease right away, you’ll need to use them for quite a bit of time before your enamel will begin to repair itself.
5) Quit Doing Whatever It Is That Causes Your Sensitivity
While you don’t need to stop drinking hot beverages and quit eating ice cream, you do need to halt any bad habits in their tracks. The problems that cause tooth sensitivity have many causes. These include clenching your jaw, grinding your teeth, brushing your teeth too hard (this can actually lead to gum recession) and over whitening your teeth. Yes, using too many tooth whitening products, from at-home bleach kits to whitening toothpaste, can make your teeth very sensitive. These products slowly remove stains from your tooth enamel, and in some cases, remove the outer layer of enamel itself. This leads to sensitivity.
Tooth sensitivity can be solved in several different ways. The quick fixes included here range from using special toothpaste and mouthwashes to chewing gum. Of course, visiting a dentist always helps as well, as there are professional treatments – some quick and fairly painless – that can stop your tooth sensitivity in its tracks. And of course, once you break your bad dental habits, you’ll be on the right path to finding a solid, last solution to this problem.
Author Bio: This guest post is a work of Peter Young in support of Thantakit International Dental Center, a sought after clinic for dental treatment in Bangkok.