Does the thought of biting into a popsicle send chills down your spine? How about eating ice cream or drinking iced tea? Many people suffer from tooth sensitivity that prevents them from enjoying some of their favorite treats. Fortunately, there is help!
Tooth sensitivity can be caused by many things- decay, acid erosion, abfraction and receding gums are the most common causes. Be sure to get your check ups and cleaning every 6 months and follow your dentist's advice. Here are some simple solutions to try at home:
1. Avoid acidic foods and drinks. Chronic exposure to acid can cause sensitivity and acid erosion. Enamel does not grow back so you want to keep what you have. Acidic foods include oranges, tomatoes, any kind of sour candy (sour patch kids etc.), red wine, juices and sodas. If you must indulge sip water after wards to neutralize the acid and wait for 20 minutes after consuming them to brush your teeth. The acidic food combined with brushing can make acid erosion even worse.
2. Change how you brush. Light and thorough is best. Do not scrub. Use a soft or extra soft toothbrush.
3. Try a different toothpaste and stay away from whitening products. Sensodyne works very well. To boost it, try placing a dab on the sensitive area and leaving it in place for a few minutes before brushing your teeth. Adding a flouride rinse can also help. Stay away from products for whitening or tartar control as they are more abrasive.
Only your dentist can help you with the solutions listed below:
1. Ask your dentist to consider paint on barriers. These can really help, but must be applied in the dental office.
2. Treat grinding! Do you wake up grinding your teeth at night or clenching them during the day? If it is at night see a sleep physician to be sure it is not part of a bigger problem If not, try a night guard. Grinding and clenching can cause enamel loss near the gum line.
3. Treat recession. If your dentist has told you that your gums are receding there is treatment available. Talk to your dentist about options for treatment. These are usually performed by a specialist called a periodontist, but your general dentist is a great resource to evaluate you.
With so many treatment options available you too can enjoy ice cream again!