Dental Guide

5 Tips for Preventing and Treating Sensitive Teeth

You read labels and shop at farmers’ markets to eat right, exercise and hit the weights to keep your body in great shape, but how much time, thought and energy do you commit to maintaining oral health? You can always lose weight, but you only get one set of teeth. If you mistreat them you’re in for years of pain, complicated surgical procedures and stiff bills. Some oral issues are obvious, such as when you have the sharp pain of a cavity. But others develop slowly over time, and often aren’t noticed until it’s too late. One of these is sensitive teeth. It’s not life-threatening, but it certainly isn’t fun, and can keep you from eating and drinking your favorites. Here are five tips for preventing and treating sensitive teeth.

Most instances of sensitive teeth occur because your gums are receding. Eventually, the tooth’s roots become exposed, which is what leads to that pain and sensitivity every time you drink something hot or cold. So the first thing you should do to prevent this from happening is to floss every day. When food particles build up between your teeth it inflames the gums, causing a whole host of problems. The eventual result is that your gums recede. By flossing every night before you go to bed you can slow the process down, or even prevent it altogether.

Another reason your gums recede is if you use too much pressure when you brush your teeth. This will impact your mouth even if you floss regularly and keep your dental cleaning appointments twice each year. So make sure you use a toothbrush that has a soft head. The bristles don’t need to be stiff in order to do the trick. Always brush in a consistent, relaxed up and down motion, and remember that you really don’t need to push at all. Relieve the pressure, and hopefully you’ll avoid sensitive teeth.

At some point it will be too late, once you’re already experiencing the symptoms. But you can alleviate the issue by using a toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth. It’s an over the counter purchase with a special mix of ingredients. Basically, the paste desensitizes your mouth by filling up the gaps or channels in the tooth’s dentin. You can brush with this toothpaste daily, but in severe cases you might also want to swab the paste across the most sensitive spots in your mouth, and then leave it on there overnight. You can spit out the extra, but don’t rinse your mouth. After a couple of weeks you should notice a difference.

You might also want to add another step to your nighttime process. By rinsing with fluoride, you will certainly cut down on your tooth sensitivity. You don’t need a prescription, so just look for a rinse that contains fluoride the next time you’re at the pharmacy. If you’ve got a lot of tooth decay, this will help alleviate that pain as well. If you’re dealing with gum disease, ask your dentist for something stronger, like a fluoride-based gel you can use on a daily basis.

Sometimes food and brushing routines aren’t the problem. If you use tobacco products, you’re going to run into trouble. And one of the worst culprits is snuff, or chewing tobacco. It may be less dangerous to your lungs, but it is known to cause cancer in your mouth, and speeds up receding gums. Unless you want to book several surgical appointments for dental implants in Grand Forks, give up the snuff. After a while you should notice less tooth sensitivity.

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