10 Tips For Sensitive Teeth

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Having sensitive teeth can cause everyday activities to become painful. Some of the best things in life such as drinking a hot beverage or enjoying ice cream are no longer enjoyable when they cause tooth pain so many people will begin to avoid them.

At Northmount Dental, we want you to be able to enjoy all of the things you love most without the pain and worry of hurting sensitive teeth. Let’s take a look at what causes your teeth to become sensitive and what you (and your dentist) can do to help.

Tooth sensitivity is very common and is typically the result of worn tooth enamel or exposed tooth roots. Sometimes, however, tooth discomfort is caused by other factors, such as a cavity, a cracked or chipped tooth, a worn filling or gum disease. If you are experiencing sudden tooth sensitivity, it’s important to visit your dentist as soon as possible to ensure that there are no urgent issues in your mouth that need to be addressed.

If your sensitive teeth are a result of worn tooth enamel, there are many ways that you can help to decrease the pain and discomfort associated with hot and cold.

1. Use Toothpaste Made for Sensitive Teeth

Using toothpaste that is specifically designed for treating tooth sensitivity can be helpful for symptom relief. Most of these toothpastes contain an ingredient that temporarily fills tiny holes in your enamel and dentin. This reduces the amount of exposure the sensitive nerves in your teeth will receive.

2. Use Only Soft Toothbrushes

One easy tip to utilize for sensitive teeth relief is changing out your toothbrush. If you use a toothbrush with stiff bristles, you could be making your condition worse.  Stiff bristles and abrasive toothpastes are hard on enamel, leading to more microscopic holes and eventually more sensitivity. They can also worsen gum recession, leading to exposed dentin and sensitive nerves. Try a soft-bristled toothbrush and make sure you brush gently to preserve the surface of your teeth and to maintain gum integrity.

3. Use a Mouthguard at Night

Sometimes sensitive teeth are caused by grinding your teeth at night. If this is a problem for you, your dentist can take molds of your teeth and make a custom mouth guard to be worn while you sleep. This guard protects against pressure and prevents damage to teeth that can be caused by nighttime grinding.

4. Try a Salt Water Rinse

Salt is an effective antiseptic and it can also help to reduce inflammation. To alleviate pain symptoms from sensitive teeth, gargle with a salt water rinse twice daily.

To use a salt water rinse:

Add ½ to ¾ tsp of salt to a glass of lukewarm water and mix well.
Swish the solution in your mouth for up to 30 seconds.
Spit out the solution.

5. Use a Hydrogen Peroxide Mouthrinse

Hydrogen peroxide is a mild antiseptic and disinfectant. It is commonly used to help sterilize cuts, burns and other wounds to prevent infection. You can also use peroxide as a mouthrinse to heal gums and prevent inflammation.

To use hydrogen peroxide as a mouthrinse:

Add two caps of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide to equal parts warm water.
Swish the solution in your mouth for up to 30 seconds.
Spit out the solution.
Rinse your mouth with water afterwards to remove any remaining solution.

6. Try Swishing Honey and Warm Water

Honey is an antibacterial agent, and can be used for wound management. Honey can help to speed healing and reduce pain, swelling and inflammation. Simply rinse your mouth with warm water and a spoonful of honey to promote oral healing.

7. Use Turmeric

In addition to cooking, turmeric can be used as an anti-inflammatory treatment. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin known for its anti-inflammatory effects.

For oral health and to alleviate pain from sensitive teeth, you can massage ground turmeric on the teeth. An alternative is to make a topical paste from 1 tsp turmeric, ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp mustard oil. Apply this paste to the teeth and gums twice a day for pain relief.

8. Consider a Green Tea Mouthrinse

Green tea is another product known for its health benefits. It has been used for its antioxidant effect and anti-inflammatory properties in many ways, including oral health.

For sensitive teeth, use unsweetened green tea as a mouthrinse twice a day to strengthen teeth and reduce inflammation.

9. Try Oil Pulling: Swishing With Coconut Oil

If you have sensitive teeth from a possible bacteria overgrowth, coconut oil can help. When you swish liquified coconut oil around in your mouth, it’s called oil pulling. This remedy has been used for many years as an oral health aid. Coconut oil hinders bacterial growth in the mouth, breaks down plaque on teeth and removes germs and toxins from the gum surface. This promotes healthier gums and teeth, which in turn reduces tooth sensitivity. It can also whiten and brighten your teeth over time.  

Swish a tablespoon of melted coconut oil around inside the mouth for 20 seconds and spit out. Follow this up with a warm water rinse and you’re on your way to a healthier mouth!

10. Opt For Dental Varnishes and Coatings that Control Sensitivity

There are a number of varnishes and other coatings that can be applied by a dentist to relieve sensitive teeth.  A fluoride varnish can be helpful in reducing tooth sensitivity because fluoride fills tiny holes in tooth enamel that can expose the teeth to temperature change and other irritants.

There are other bonding agents and plastic sealant coatings that can be applied to strengthen enamel and dentin as well. Ask your dentist about coating options for reducing sensitivity in teeth.

The best option to help reduce your tooth sensitivity will be based on your unique circumstances. It is best to book an appointment with your dentist before trying at-home remedies over the long term. Your dentist can assess your teeth and determine if there is any intervention required, then advise you on which at-home methods will work best for you based on the cause of your sensitivity.

If you have been experiencing sensitive teeth, sudden onset or longer-term, book an appointment to see Dr. Verma or Dr. Kulshrestha to discuss your best options for relief.

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