Ask any ice cream lover: Sensitive teeth can be a real drag. In fact, a number of things can exacerbate sensitive teeth, from food to brushing, so it can go from a minor annoyance to a big problem pretty quickly. And although desensitizing toothpastes can help ease the pain, you might wonder how to relieve sensitive teeth naturally and skip the pain next time. A couple of changes to your routine can make a big difference in how your teeth feel, so you can get back to your normal self.
What's Causing the Pain?
Sensitive teeth can be the result of any number of dental issues, including genetics. Focusing on the cause of your tooth sensitivity can better your understanding of how to treat it and prevent it from coming back. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), tooth sensitivity is usually triggered when eating hot or cold foods, and can be caused by:
- periodontal (gum) disease
- tooth decay and exposure of roots at the gumline
- aggressive toothbrushing
- wearing away of the enamel, the hard surface that protects the nerves of each tooth
If you think your sensitive teeth are the result of tooth decay, disease or infection, see your dentist. However, issues like soft enamel can be habit-based or even hereditary, according to CNN, making it easier to wear it down. So you may be able to treat sensitivity naturally at home.
Knowing how to relieve sensitive teeth can include remedies that may even be in your own hands. Specifically amending some of your usual habits could make a difference in how your teeth feel on a daily basis. Try these three tips for healthier, pain-free teeth:
Swap Your Toothbrush
Brushing can help keep your teeth healthy, but using a hard-bristled toothbrush or a highly abrasive toothpaste can aggravate sensitive teeth. Instead, swap out your usual toothbrush for a softer product, such as Colgate® SlimSoft™, and brush your teeth gently in a back and forth motion and across the biting surfaces of the teeth, rather than erratically. You don't need to be harsh with your teeth; a little TLC can go a long way to reducing sensitivity.
Avoid Acidic Foods
Certain foods, like carbonated drinks, coffee, citrus fruits and even yogurt, can cause sensitivity, warns the Mayo Clinic. This is because acidic products can actually be a catalyst to the wearing away of tooth enamel. Consider avoiding them altogether, and if you must have your daily soda, do so by drinking through a straw to limit the contact the liquid has with your teeth. Additionally, don't brush your teeth right after eating or drinking acidic foods; acid softens your enamel and makes your teeth even more sensitive if brushed against too quickly. Instead, have a glass of milk to help neutralize the acid.
Wear a Mouth Guard
Do you grind your teeth at night? If you suffer with sensitive teeth, you might, even if you don't realize it. Teeth grinding can wear away tooth enamel so they feel sore and sensitive the next day. A mouth guard can help keep you from grinding: You can get one from your dentist or find it in the oral care section of your drug store. This item acts as a protective bite piece that is placed on your teeth to protect the enamel, similar to those worn by athletes in contact sports.
If you suffer from sensitive teeth, toothpaste isn't your only option to enjoy your favorite foods once again. In fact, you can start today to take steps toward a healthier mouth and less sensitive teeth in natural, simple ways. By caring for your pearly whites gently and regularly, you'll focus on treating the cause of sensitive teeth, rather than simply reacting to the pain.