TLC Tips for a Toothache and Tooth Sensitivity
It’s common for a patient to come into our practice with a toothache or tooth sensitivity. As this article from TLC explains, there are several home remedies to prevent future discomfort and tooth pain we often recommend to patients for minor dental pain.
5 Home Remedies for Tooth Sensitivity
“You take a drink of iced tea, bite down on a candy bar, or slurp some hot soup and the electric stinging sensation in one or more of your teeth sends you flying out of your seat. You’ve got ‘sensitive teeth,’ a rather mild name for what can be a wildly uncomfortable condition.
“So what’s going on? Why do your teeth react to hot, cold, sweet, or sour, and sometimes even to pressure? Dentists have to play detective to determine what’s causing a patient’s discomfort, since teeth become sensitive for many different reasons, from trauma to dental disease, which can destroy tooth pulp, requiring a root canal procedure to relieve the pain.
“By far the most common cause of tooth sensitivity to temperature and sweet or sour foods is exposed dentin, the hardened tissue just beneath the tooth’s enamel that contains microscopic nerve fibers. Dentin can become exposed as a result of dental decay, food or toothbrush abrasion, or gum recession. Regardless of the cause, exposed nerves make the teeth sensitive.
“If you develop sensitivity in one or more teeth, first see your dentist to determine the cause. Then, if your sensitivity is caused by simple enamel abrasion or by normal gum recession, try the following home remedies for relief.
“Bring on the desensitizing toothpaste. Unfortunately, widespread tooth sensitivity due to enamel abrasion or gum-line recession can’t be treated with dental fillings. Instead, try brushing with a desensitizing toothpaste, which you can buy over the counter. These special toothpastes contain ingredients that diminish sensitivity by filling channels (known as tubules) in the dentin. Try putting some of the toothpaste on your finger or on a cotton swab and spreading it over the sensitive spots before you go to bed. Spit, but don’t rinse. Within a few weeks, your teeth should begin to feel less sensitive.
Dr. Smith recommends MIPaste and MIPaste Plus. Available at dental Health and Wellness Boston, these products help strength teeth with tooth-replenishing calcium and phosphate, ideal to relieve sensitivity.
“Try a fluoride rinse. Fluoride rinses, available without a prescription at your local pharmacy or in the dental section of grocery stores, can help decrease sensitivity, especially for people plagued with decay problems.
Occasionally, people with sensitive teeth need a stronger fluoride rinse or gel than the ones available over the counter. For example, some treatments for gum disease, such as root planing (which reduces plaque), can leave sensitive teeth even more sensitive than usual. In such situations, dentists can apply a fluoride gel that helps relieve the problem.
“Keep your teeth clean. Plaque, the white gummy substance that forms on teeth, produces an acid that irritates teeth, especially if your choppers are naturally sensitive. Wage a daily attack against plaque by brushing at least twice, preferably right after eating and especially before bed, and flossing at least once.
“Use a soft toothbrush. Often, people actually cause tooth sensitivity by brushing with too much force and/or brushing with a hard-bristled brush, which can damage the protective tooth enamel. When the gum-line recedes (often as a natural part of the aging process), exposed dentin becomes even more vulnerable to toothbrush abrasion. Use a brush with the softest bristles you can find, and apply only a small amount of pressure when brushing (actually, a lighter touch also allows the bristles to move more freely and do their job more effectively than when you press too hard).
You can also avoid brushing too hard when you use the Rotodent power toothbrush recommended by Dr. Smith and available for purchase at our Boston dentist office. Powerbrushes effectively clean teeth and eliminate the need to apply unnecessary pressure that can cause irritation to the gums.
“Say, ‘Enough!’ to snuff. Chewing tobacco, also known as “dip” or “snuff,” is a popular habit in some groups, especially among many male teenagers. They mistakenly believe it’s less harmful than smoking cigarettes. However, in addition to causing mouth cancers, chewing tobacco causes the gums to recede, a major cause of gum sensitivity and decay. Just as there is no safe cigarette, there is no safe tobacco.
Habits like sucking on hard candy, while certainly healthier than chewing snuff, can also cause enamel abrasion and tooth sensitivity.”
The first step to solving your tooth sensitivity is a visit to Dental Health and Wellness Boston. If you are experiencing:
- Persistent sensitivity to pressure even after using a desensitizing toothpaste
- Dental pain lasting more than an hour
- Notice a change in gum color around a sensitive tooth
- See obvious tooth decay
Request an appointment now to stop the discomfort and get back your healthy smile.