Sensitive Nerves

Tooth sensitivity typically creeps up unawares. A person may be eating a delicious bowl of ice cream or drinking a morning cup of hot coffee when suddenly they are assaulted by a sharp, shooting pain. Tooth sensitivity occurs when the enamel of the tooth is worn away, causing the sensitive nerves beneath to be open to the air. Some may have sensitivity to cold foods while others may have sensitivity to hot, acidic or sweet foods or even to hot or cold air. While tooth sensitivity may not look like a huge problem when one glances in the mouth, it can cause excruciating pain and may cause a person to avoid certain foods or activities. Here are four excellent steps that individuals can take to reduce the sensitivity of their teeth.

Change Your Diet
Some foods can cause breakdown of the tooth enamel. The biggest culprit is foods that are high in acid, such as citrus fruits, carbonated beverages, and coffee. Additionally, foods with high sugar content can cause cavities and break down the enamel. Individuals should avoid acidic or sticky foods and should focus on high-fiber foods without added sugars. Some foods can aggravate the already sensitive teeth. Individuals should stay away from the types of foods and drinks that they know afflict them, such as sugary treats, cold ice cream or hot drinks. Those who do eat acidic or sugary foods should wait a while before brushing their teeth.

Spring for a New Brush
Brushes with medium to hard bristles can actually wear away the enamel on the tooth, worsening any ongoing tooth sensitivity. This is the time to switch to a manual toothbrush with soft bristles. Even better would be an electric toothbrush with a bristle head designed for sensitive teeth and gums. Electric toothbrushes do all the work of brushing, are very gentle on the gums and are excellent at removing plaque. The toothbrush should be held at a 45-degree angle to the gums. Of course, a sensitivity toothpaste can also help as long as it is used consistently twice each day.

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Use a Mouth Guard
Surprisingly, a great deal of tooth sensitivity can be due to unconscious clenching of the teeth and jaw. Some people clench their teeth during the day when they begin to feel stressed. These individuals should try to unclench their teeth purposefully during the day. Others clench their teeth while they are sleeping or grind their teeth. In these cases, an over-the-counter mouth guard can help to protect the teeth from enamel wear. Those with very bad cases of grinding may need a mouth guard prescribed by their dentists.

Get Professional Treatments
Some cases of tooth sensitivity are bad enough to warrant special attention by a dentist in Charleston or your area. A professional will be able to provide fluoride treatments in the office to protect the teeth. These treatments can be in the form of a varnish or a tray that sits on the teeth for about five minutes. Other people may benefit from sealants on the sensitive areas while others may be prescribed a high-powered sensitive teeth toothpaste to be used once or twice a day.

When someone experiences new tooth sensitivity, he or she should have it checked out by a dentist. The pain could be coming from a cavity or a cracked tooth, which would need to be repaired before further damage occurs. However, if the sensitivity is due to worn down enamel or receding gums, the pain may be controlled with some simple measures that can be taken at home or with a professional treatment. With long-lasting, daily treatment following a dentist’s plan, almost all pain can be successfully avoided.

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