For many people, warmer weather means ice cream, Popsicles and plenty of cold drinks. For people who have sensitive teeth, however, it’s not so easy to indulge in traditional summertime sweets. If you suffer from tooth sensitivity, here’s how you can ease your discomfort.
Understanding the Cause
According to the Journal of the American Dental Association, one in eight adults suffers from some form of tooth sensitivity. Most of the time, this stems from cavities, worn enamel, receding gums or decaying dental work. Discomfort tends to amplify when affected areas come into contact with hot or cold foods and beverages. In turn, many people are forced to avoid some of their favorite indulgences, because they simply cannot tolerate the pain.
If you suffer from tooth sensitivity, there are a few things you can do to reduce discomfort, including:
- Strengthen enamel by brushing daily with a fluoride-enriched toothpaste.
- Avoid acidic foods and drinks, which can exacerbate pain and wear down tooth enamel.
- Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco, which also contribute to tooth sensitivity.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, which is less abrasive than hard-bristled brushes.
- Avoid over-the-counter whitening agents, which can thin tooth enamel.
According to the American Dental Association, desensitizing toothpastes can also help reduce discomfort because they contain compounds that block sensation traveling from the tooth surface to the nerve. If desensitizing toothpastes prove ineffective, dentists generally recommend in-office treatments involving fluoride gels or special desensitizing agents. If this proves ineffective, fillings, crowns, inlays or bondings may be needed to treat decay or correct other underlying causes. In some cases, people require surgical gum grafts to replace lost gum tissue, protect the root and reduce sensitivity.
You should also schedule regular dental examinations to catch potential issues before they become chronic problems that keep you from enjoying your favorite foods and beverages.