Living with sensitive teeth can be a frustrating experience. Sometimes it seems like all of the pleasures in life cause your teeth to hurt – pleasures like hot coffee, ice cream or chocolate fudge, for example. But for some people, the sensitivity is even worse. Some can experience pain even when they brush and floss. No matter what level of discomfort you’re experiencing, you should know that there are ways to deal with sensitive teeth.
Why You Might Have Sensitive Teeth
There are a number of reasons why you might be experiencing sensitivity. It’s common among older people with receding gums or worn enamel. But there are other issues that might cause your teeth to be sensitive, such as:
- Gum disease
- Tooth decay
- Use (or over-use) of whitening products
- Chipped or cracked teeth
Effective Treatment for Sensitivity
Different people experience different triggers for their sensitivity. Many feel discomfort from cold or hot food and drinks. Others feel it when they eat sugary foods. But whatever triggers your sensitivity, you should know that there are several effective ways to reduce it. What follows are some of those treatment options.
- Sensitivity toothpaste – Using an over-the-counter toothpaste developed for sensitive teeth on a regular basis can often reduce sensitivity.
- Change the way you brush – Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and be careful not to brush too vigorously or too often, both of which can increase sensitivity. Brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day is a healthy routine.
- Talk to your dentist about teeth grinding – Bruxism (another term for teeth grinding) can increase teeth sensitivity. If you grind your teeth either during the day or at night while you’re sleeping, talk to your dentist about an effective way to help you stop, such as a mouth guard.
- Consider laser treatment – Ask your dentist about laser treatments designed to reduce teeth sensitivity. The laser seals the tubules of the teeth, and that stops liquids and cold air from penetrating the tooth enamel and causing sensitivity.
- Fluoride treatment – Applying fluoride to sensitive teeth can strengthen the enamel and, as a result, reduce sensitivity. Ask your dentist about prescription fluoride or an over-the-counter fluoride rinse that might be effective.
- Avoid acidic foods and drinks – Citrus fruits, soda, juice and other acidic foods and drinks can damage tooth enamel and increase sensitivity.
- Stay away from hot liquids – Or, at the very least, let your coffee or soup cool down before you enjoy it.
- Try a straw – If cold drinks trigger your sensitivity, try using a straw, which can limit the contact of the drink with the tooth surface.
Unfortunately, there is no actual cure for sensitive teeth, but there are ways to deal with it. If you suffer from sensitivity, talk to your dentist. He or she may have other ideas that will help you live with this condition.