With the warmer weather we’ve all been turning to iced drinks to keep cool, but, do they set your teeth on edge?
If you have sensitive teeth Summer time can literally be a pain!
But, what causes sensitive teeth and what can be done about it?
All of our teeth are covered in a hard protective layer of enamel which covers the more sensitive and softer dentine that sits underneath. Commonly, around the necks of the teeth( the part nearest the gum) this can become exposed which in turn causes the tooth to feel sensitive to cold air, drinks, food and even sometimes, acidic fruits.
You might ask ‘how does that happen then’? The most common scenarios are;
- Toothbrush abrasion. Brushing too hard using a scrubbing motion (i.e. a repetitive backwards and forwards motion) can cause enamel to be worn away sometimes even leaving noticeable notches around the necks of the teeth. To prevent this, we recommend using a medium textured toothbrush and brushing with a circular motion instead, if you’re unsure, ask our hygienists to show you.
- Natural gum recession. Sadly, as we age, our gums can recede slightly exposing the root surface of the teeth. With no enamel on the roots to protect them this part of the tooth can feel very sensitive to stimulus.
- Erosion. Caused by acidic foods and drink wearing down the enamel
- Grinding your teeth. Sometimes you may not even be aware that you’re a ‘tooth grinder’ but if you’re clenching and grinding your teeth in your sleep then this can lead to the enamel slowly being worn away.
The good news is that most sensitive teeth can be treated at home!
As it’s such a common problem there are lots of different toothpastes that can help with the most common causes of sensitivity. Look for a brand that’s been especially formulated for sensitive teeth and then start to use it twice a day. You can also use the toothpaste like an ointment and rub it into the sensitive ares of your teeth (around the necks). It make take a few days or longer to take effect, but you should see a marked improvement in time. Some brands seem to work better for some people than others, so it might be worth trying out a couple of different ones to see which one works for you.
Remember though, If there is no change and the sensitivity isn’t improving then it’s time to give us call and come in for an examination to rule out any more serious issues such as gum disease, decay or a cracked tooth.
How can you prevent sensitivity?
- Ask your dental hygienist to show you how to brush your teeth in a way that will not cause any damage to your enamel and always use a medium textured toothbrush rather than a firm or hard one.
- If tooth-grinding is a problem then ask us about having a special mouthguard made to wear at night to protect your teeth.
- Keep sugary drinks and snacks to a minimum, preferably only at meal times
- Remember to visit your dentist and hygienist regularly!
If you've got any questions about tooth sensitivity or any other dental queries we're always happy to talk, just give us a call on 01539 720820!