A sensitive tooth can ruin an entire day, and cost you money. In fact, approximately 25% of working adults have had to take time off of work to visit a dentist concerning their tooth sensitivity. In most cases, sensitivity is a warning that your tooth’s protective layer of enamel has worn away and exposed your dentin, which contains tiny tubules that allow sensory information to reach the nerves at the center of your tooth. It can also indicate that your gums have receded and exposed the tooth’s root. Whatever the cause of your sensitive tooth, the discomfort can be unbearable. Des Moines dentist Dr. Stephen Burds gives these tips to toughen your tooth against discomfort.
Tips to Reduce Sensitive Teeth
- Several toothpaste brands are specially designed to help reduce tooth sensitivity. Some pastes contain potassium nitrate, which assists in sealing the tiny tubules in your tooth’s dentin to block sensory input to the nerves. Although this does not prove effective for everyone, experts agree it is usually the best place to start.
- The way you brush your teeth can also be a cause of tooth discomfort. If you brush too vigorously, you can wear the enamel down around your tooth, lessening its protection. Harsh brushing also irritates the gums, causing them to recede from your teeth and expose the roots of your teeth.
- Exposure to acidic foods and drinks will increase the strength of acid attacks against your teeth. If you must consume a sugary or acidic food or beverage, Dr. Burds advises brushing your teeth approximately 20 minutes afterward (earlier may damage your enamel), or at least rinsing your mouth out with water to neutralize the acid and wash away any lingering sugars or food particles.
- If you’re like many people, you may have a tendency to clench your teeth when you are angry or stressed. Or, you may have a habit of grinding your teeth in your sleep, with or without realizing it. The undue stress applied to your teeth through grinding can cause cracks and fissures to form in the enamel around your teeth, which can cause sensitivity.
If you have one or more sensitive teeth, or would like to learn more about protecting your teeth and enamel, contact Dr. Burds at Gateway Dental Group at (515) 244-9565 to request a consultation. We welcome patients from River Bend, Kirkwood Glen, East Village, and neighboring communities.