Tooth discomfort is never fun, especially when you’re trying to enjoy your favorite food and drinks! If ice cream is making you wince, there are some things that might help. Here are 5 ideas to help with sensitive teeth and get you back to enjoying the foods and drinks you love.
1. Sensitive Toothpaste
Desensitizing toothpaste was developed because tooth sensitivity is so common. This special kind of toothpaste contains ingredients to help protect your nerves from things that can cause sensitivity. The most common ingredient is potassium nitrate which blocks pain signals that the nerves in your teeth send to your brain. It may take a few uses, but it should help to reduce your symptoms. Make sure that you are also using a soft toothbrush when you brush your teeth to avoid irritating your gums or being too abrasive on your enamel.
2. Floss Daily
It may seem counterintuitive, of all the ideas to help with sensitive teeth, to encourage flossing, which can irritate your gums and cause them to bleed if you haven’t done it in a while, but gum health can have a big impact on the health and comfort of your teeth so it’s important not to neglect it. Gum disease can cause tooth sensitivity, so taking proper care of your gums can help to make your teeth less sensitive. As your gums get healthier, they will bleed less and feel less tender, as well.
Jaw clenching and tooth grinding often contributes to increased tooth sensitivity. Most people don’t even notice that they’re doing it! If you’re experiencing stress, it may be helpful to practice calming exercises or meditation throughout the day, but if that’s not enough to reduce sensitivity, it may also be helpful to invest in a mouthguard worn at night or when you tend to clench your teeth such as while working at a desk or driving. Mouthguards may be found at most drugstores or your dentist can fit you with one that is custom molded to your mouth for even better results.
4. Salt Water Rinse
This is one of the most economical and easy to access ideas to help with sensitive teeth. A salt water rinse is easy to make, the ingredients can be found almost anywhere and it is recommended by dentists and oral surgeons to aid in healing. Salt water contains natural antiseptic and inflammation-reducing properties that can help to reduce tooth sensitivity and many other sources of discomfort in the mouth. Simply mix ½ teaspoon of salt in a glass of lukewarm water and swish it in your mouth for 30 seconds then spit it out.
5. Fluoride Products and Treatments
Fluoride can help to reduce sensitivity because it helps to remineralize the enamel or outer layer of teeth, strengthening your teeth against decay and protecting the inner sensitive layers from irritants. You can start by making sure that you are using a fluoride toothpaste, but it may provide further relief to also use a fluoride mouthwash and talk to your dentist about more concentrated fluoride varnishes or sealants that can be applied in office during your next dental appointment.
When to See a Dentist for Sensitivity
If you’ve tried all these ideas to help with sensitive teeth and are still experiencing sensitivity, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your dentist for an exam to rule out other issues such as a cavity, gum disease or simply an uneven bite which your dentist can spot and quickly file down so that it no longer aggravates your nerves. Your dentist may also be able to give you additional tips to help with sensitivity. You shouldn’t have to experience dental discomfort, so don’t hesitate to call your dentist to find out the source and get it resolved as soon as possible!
Call our Little Rock, AR, dental office, to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.