While enjoying your meal, you might just randomly feel some strange, uncomfortable sensation on your teeth. Strangely, that sensation might not be on your gums. Rather, it is on the tooth itself. Sometimes, there might be certain spots where it is extra sensitive. When you bite into something hard or even cold, it can even be a painful experience!
How can that be? Aren’t bones supposed to be really strong and durable? Okay, maybe you haven’t been taking care of your teeth, so you start to brush more and floss more. Unfortunately, that sensitivity and pain is still present. This can be a very frustrating experience. Your selection of food choices probably became more limited due to that.
Why does this happen though? It helps to understand a little anatomy of the teeth.
Anatomy of the Teeth
Here is what a typical tooth looks like.
As can be seen in the picture, our teeth contains many parts. There is the enamel, root canal, pulp cavity, etc. For this article, the part you want to focus on is the enamel. It is the white outer coating that surrounds the teeth.
This is the layer of the teeth that protects the inner components from damage. The inner teeth contains nerves and blood vessels. This is how nutrients are fed to it. As a result, teeth can be healthy and strong.
With time and depending on how you maintain your dental hygiene, enamel can wear down.
What Happens As a Result
Initially, when the enamel wears down, you might not feel anything. However, as the enamel continue to wear down more, you start to approach the next layer called dentin. This is typically where the nerve endings start to protrude into. When the dentin (filled with nerve endings) is exposed to various stimuli, it will feel things in extreme. (Remember, it was previously covered by enamel so it typically is not exposed to many types of stimuli.)
Stimuli can include extreme temperatures, some type of inflicted force, basically anything external that can stimulate that sensitive layer of teeth. This is why you might be feeling a painful sensation near the center top of the teeth when you bite into something hard or cold. If not careful, the nerve endings can be overly stimulated and damaged. When that is damaged, it will also affect the blood vessels.
When the nerve endings and blood vessels are damaged, the nutrient supply for that tooth can be cut off. This is like cutting off the life support of the tooth which will weaken it. If not careful, it can potentially rot.
Knowing that, does that mean it’s all over? Not necessarily. There are still many things you can do to protect your teeth. Here are 8 practical ways to reduce sensitivity.
8 Practical Methods to Reduce Teeth Sensitivity
Minimize consumption of sweets
As someone who loves sweets myself, this can be something that is difficult to do. However, when we consume sweets, it tends to stick to our teeth. Excess sugars (or carbohydrates for that manner), when not used properly by the body, can cause things to decay and wear down. In this case, it would be the enamel that wears down. This will expose that dentin layer of nerve endings.
If you do happen to eat sweet things, be sure to brush your teeth afterwards to remove any particles stuck to the teeth. Click here to read about healthier dessert options that you can consume.
Maintain good dental hygiene
Be sure to brush your teeth and floss regularly. This helps to remove any lingering food byproducts that get stuck in your teeth. If food particles are stuck between teeth, it might even cause your gums to swell up. In addition, it will wear out the enamel.
Minimize consumption of acidic foods
Acidic foods contain…acid. Like sweet foods, acid will wear out the enamel layer of teeth. Here is a list of acidic foods that you may want be to careful of.
- Caffeinated drinks and coffee
- Nuts, seeds, beans
- Dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese, etc.)
When you do consume these foods, make sure to rinse your mouth after to remove any lingering acidic byproducts.
Use a special toothpaste
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You can purchase something like Sensodyne Pronamel toothpaste. It is a special toothpaste for those with sensitive teeth. The active ingredients are:
- Potassium Nitrate – known for blocking transmission of pain signals (detected by nerves) delivered to the brain
- Sodium Fluoride – helps with strengthening enamel (that outer protective layer of teeth)
From my personal experience, this toothpaste has done a great job in getting rid of my teeth sensitivity. The process took a couple of weeks. At the moment, I do not have any more sensitive spots on my teeth.
Switch to a soft bristled toothbrush
You might have been someone who used hard bristled toothbrushes because it lasts longer than a soft bristled one. But in the case with teeth sensitivity, the hard bristled toothbrush might be too tough for sensitive teeth. Be sure to switch to a soft bristled brush which will clean your teeth while being gentle.
Avoid aggressive brushing of teeth
We might think that more brushing will get rid of all food particles stuck to the teeth. When you brush, your goal is to remove that layer of food particles coating your teeth. Once that layer of food particle is gone, the next layer beneath that is the enamel.
When you try to brush that, it will slowly wear out as well. When this continues for some time, it will eventually wear down that enamel layer and expose that dentin layer. This will lead to more teeth sensitivity.
Avoid drinking soda
Probably another difficult thing to do for some. What happens with drinking soda is that the liquid substance contains a high amount of phosphorus. There is a lot of sugar as well. (See the first tip).
Naturally, our body likes to maintain a balanced level of phosphorus and calcium in our blood. When there is a sudden rush and increase of phosphorus, your body needs to balance it out with calcium.
You most likely did not ingest as much calcium when you drank soda. Therefore, you body will need to pull calcium sources from within your body somewhere. Where would that be? Most likely your bones which includes even teeth. This will lead to weaker, brittle bones. This is actually how osteoporosis occurs. This condition may lead to bone fractures.
In the cases with teeth, it can lead to wearing down of the enamel. There is also the possibility of teeth chipping or cracking.
Receive dental checkups more often
Probably the most important and overlooked step. Unless you are already a dentist or dental hygienist, we might think that we are already doing everything we can to take care of our teeth. But there may be things you could be forgetting or unaware of unless a specialist makes it known to you. You will also be receiving your regular dental care here as well.
Summary of Methods
- Minimize consumption of sweets
- Maintain good dental hygiene
- Minimize consumption of acidic foods
- Use a special toothpaste (Sensodyne Pronamel toothpaste)
- Switch to a soft bristled toothbrush
- Avoid aggressive brushing of teeth
- Avoid drinking soda
- Receive dental checkups more often
Sensitive teeth can be a very painful experience if we do not take the necessary steps to maintain dental hygiene. But it is not too late to start now. By following these methods, you can start to reduce some of that painful sensation. There are even special toothpastes like Sensodyne Pronamel to help with that.
These methods might not be perfect, but there will be improvement. I am no dentist or dental hygienist. Be sure to visit your dentist regularly for the best strategies and dental care! You might find yourself smiling more often, free of pain! Hope this article is able to help you!
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