Do things like eating ice cream and gusts of cold air make your teeth hurt? If they do, you might have tooth sensitivity, otherwise known as “dentin sensitivity.” It’s defined as pain or discomfort in your teeth in response to certain stimuli.
Tooth sensitivity can affect one or more of your teeth and be caused by a number of different things, but most of the time, changing your dental hygiene routine can make a significant difference.
Here are some common causes and pain relief options for sensitive teeth:
- Brushing your teeth too hard
- Using a toothbrush with harder, stiffer bristles
- Grinding your teeth at night
- Regular consumption of acidic food and drinks
Pain Triggers for People with Sensitive Teeth
- Food and drinks that are either too hot or too cold
- Food and drinks that contain a high amount of sugar
- Highly acidic food and drinks, like soda
- Drinking ice-cold water
- Brushing or flossing
- Using alcohol-based mouthwash
Pain Relief Options for Sensitive Teeth
1. Desensitizing Toothpaste
Desensitizing toothpaste contains compounds that shield your nerve endings from irritants. They work by blocking the pain signals that travel from the nerve to your brain. Sensitivity usually reduces after a few uses, and dentists recommend using a soft-bristle toothbrush and low-acid rinse to reduce pain.
2. Rinse Your Mouth with Honey and Warm Water
Honey is known to have antibacterial properties, and can help speed up healing, reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation.
3. Use Hydrogen Peroxide as a Mouth Rinse
Hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic and disinfectant. You may have used it before to sterilize cuts and burns to prevent infections. It can also be used to heal your gums and prevent inflammation. Here’s how to use it as a mouth rinse:
- Add two caps of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide to equal parts warm water
- Swish the solution in your mouth for up to 30 seconds
- Spit out the solution (don’t swallow it)
- Rinse your mouth with water afterwards to remove any remaining hydrogen peroxide
4. Be More Gentle When Brushing
If you brush too hard, you might be removing more than just plaque from your teeth. Brushing from side-to-side right at your gum line can also strip your enamel away faster. Instead, focus on brushing at a 45-degree angle and be sure to use a softer-bristled brush. And remember, using more pressure and brushing faster doesn’t clean your teeth any better than brushing more gently.
5. Avoid Acidic Food & Drinks
One of the causes of tooth sensitivity listed above is consuming food and drinks with a high acid content. Swap things like soda, sticky candy, and carbs with higher sugar content for fruits and veggies with high fiber, cheese, milk, and plain yogurt.
6. Unclench Your Teeth
When you’re stressed, it’s common to clench your jaw and not even realize it. Over time, this and teeth-grinding can wear away your enamel. Try to address your stress and find ways to reduce it – your physical health depends on it.
If that doesn’t work, your dentist can fit you for a splint or a mouthguard to protect your teeth from unconscious clenching and grinding.
Bottom Line: It’s important not to shy away from dental care because of tooth pain. Ignoring your teeth can make things worse. Always consult your dentist if something is causing you discomfort, and be diligent about your dental health. For more information, call our office or schedule an appointment today.