The end of summer is upon us, and with it comes the desire to perhaps have one last ice cream cone or enjoy an iced coffee with extra ice. For some people, enjoying these items is not an option as they suffer from sensitive teeth.
Sensitive teeth can cause big pain particularly when drinking or eating something hot, cold, sweet or acidic. Cold liquids and foods are often the biggest culprits, but fear not, there is a way around the pain and solutions that will help.
Tooth sensitivity is caused by the gradual exposure of the softer part of your tooth that lies under the tooth enamel. This is called dentin. Dentin has tiny channels that contain nerve endings and are filled with fluid. Eating or drinking foods and drinks that are hot, cold or sweet can cause this fluid to move. This fluid movement causes the nerve endings to react in response, triggering a twinge of discomfort or a short, sharp pain.
The removal of dentin (enamel) can be caused by many things including the liquids you drink -soda being a big culprit- teeth grinding, vigorous brushing and receding gums or gum disease.
Proper hygiene and regular visits to your dentist are imperative, but there are also other things you can do in between visits that will make the pain more bearable.
For starters, brushing your teeth with sensitive teeth toothpaste like Sensodyne, Arm and Hammer or a simple baking soda solution is a good first defense against the pain.
Often times, patients will experience more pain after certain dental treatments. The application of fluoride will often lessen the reaction. In severe cases, teeth can be coated with a plastic like coating that will fill in all of the holes in the teeth, caused by lack of dentin, making the tooth less sensitive.
If you simply cannot stand the pain nor can you live without your favorite hot or cold drink, drinking through a straw will often lessen the reaction of the tooth to the liquid as there is less contact.
Regular dental visits, minimizing acidic drinks like soda or orange juice that are known to remove enamel, good home care and a sensitive toothpaste will go a long way towards helping relieve the reaction of sensitive teeth.