How I Cope with Sensitive Teeth

by grandi

Millions of people suffer from sensitive teeth. It is a condition that develops over the time and affects about 38 % of adults worldwide.

I envy the people who have no idea how lucky they are if tasting ice cream does not make them jump in the air. I used to wince because of agonizing sip of coffee, cold drinks, and various other types of food – sweet, salty, or sour in particular. Breathing in cold air was just the same. On top of everything, a sharp, excruciating sensation was a regular companion of completely ordinary daily teeth brushing or flossing.

Diagnose: Sensitive Teeth

Then, I conferred about the problem with my dentist, who swiftly diagnosed the most common problem: Dentinal hypersensitivity.

While analyzing the possible causes, he ruled out fractured teeth, cavities, and teeth decay.

The culprit was worn tooth enamel along with exposed tooth roots.   

Close-up of Woman's Mouth
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In simple words, enamel (that is actually the strongest substance in a human body) protects our teeth above the gums, while softer substance cementum protects our roots.

They both cover another inner layer of the tooth, known as dentin, which is also hard, but less dense and full of microscopic hollow tubes or channels, called tubules. 

Therein lies the problem.


Tubules link up to the vital (living) pulp in the center of the tooth that contains blood vessels and touchy, easily irritated nerves. 

Thus, worn out or cracked tooth enamel, and/or receded gums, result in exposed dentin and consequentially aggravating hypersensitivity, discomfort, and pain.  

Moreover, sensitive teeth may bring about some other utmost disturbing occurrences such as swollen and red gums, bad breath (halitosis), discharge, and altered tasting ability.   

Prevention and Treatment

To prevent sensitive teeth pain, driven by receded gums and food or toothbrush abrasion, appropriate oral hygiene is critical.
Proper Toothbrush & Toothpaste

Select quality, soft bristled toothbrush and desensitizing toothpaste that blocks or reduces transmission of painful sensation on the way from the tooth surface to the nerve.

My dentist strictly advocated the choice of ultra soft brush and only tender, gel type of toothpaste.

Besides, she dissuaded the purchase of electric brush. Naturally, you need to discuss your case with your dentist as not two people are the same and every individual may vary widely from another one.

Brush your teeth gently in a prescribed manner, never press hard. Replace your toothbrush regularly, at least every three months.   

CURAPROX Oral Care Instruction

How To Keep Mouth and Teeth Healthy

Cleaning between teeth after brushing twice a day is ideally to remove plaque from hard to reach spaces.

No toothbrush can reach amidst teeth and under the gum line spots where only floss wipes off food debris and plaque.

Mind: incorrect, rough use of floss can damage your gums.

However, after first few flossing your gums may turn tender and bleed slightly. If the bleeding does not end after few days, consult your dentist, as either something must be wrong with your gums or with the technique you floss. 

The Inter-dental Brush

Use of dental floss is obligatory, yet small inter-dental brush may do even a better job.

Its use is handy and tremendously efficacious. Once inserted, a couple of in-and-out movements guarantee most thoroughly cleaned teeth and gums without the hassle of complicated flossing process and large amounts of wasted floss.

Also known as interproximal brushes or proxy brushes, inter-dental brushes are reusable and available in many different shapes and sizes. 

Besides, different inter-dental brushes are mostly conveniently interchangeable with practical, helpful handles. 

At last, but not least, I suggest a good mouthwash.

Not only it is beneficial after brushing and flossing; rinsing your mouth with quality antiseptic mouthwash help cleaning when you are unable to brush your teeth.

A high quality fluoride mouthwash helps decreasing periodontal disease along with the quantity of dental plaque and bacteria in the mouth.

Although mouthwash cannot substitute any stage of proper dental care and hygiene, fluoride mouthwashes are highly encouraged for individuals with a severe aptness to tooth decay. I have nothing but the praise for it, as it is excellent, simple method of fluoride enhancement and very effective in tooth decay prevention.

Yet, beware of some over-the-counter mouthwashes that contain acids – they can worsen the fragility of your teeth.  Always check the chemical compound of the mouthwash before you buy. Avoid products with questionable and potentially harmful ingredients by following your dentist's advice. 

Beneficial Mouthwash
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My Favourite Oral Products

I have tried and tested numerous brushes, pastes, mouthwashes, and other oral hygiene products. According to my own experiences, some truly deserve special commendation. While some of them (Sensodyne or Colgate toothpaste, for example) feature constant relief, the others provide long term results. 

Toothbrush: Curaprox CS5460 Ultra Soft *** Toothpaste: Curaprox Enyzcal, Colgate Pro-Relief, Sensodyne Rapid *** Floss & Inter-dental Brushes: Curaprox *** Mouthwash: Curasept ADS205, ADS 212, ADS220
Toothbrush, Toothpastes, Floss, Brushes, Mouthwash

Foods to avoid

Ice cream, iced drinks and other very cold food can irritate and evoke anguish in sensitive teeth.

In the same way, hot liquids like coffee, tea, or soup, may be tormenting, as well.

Always thirsty, I used to drink buckets of apple-flavored natural water; but gasped in horror when my dentist discovered totally dissolved enamel on both upper front teeth! Still, there is no need to give up all you truly like – sipping through the straw minimizes the contact with your teeth.   

Several foods can be terribly damaging to tooth enamel, provoking the hypersensitivity or even aggravating the condition.

Carbonated and soft drinks, such as lemonade and juices, acidic foods such as vinegar pickles, all contribute to teeth sensitivity by wearing away the enamel.

As far as I am concerned I absolutely cannot eat apples, kiwi, pineapple, and oranges. Strawberries yes - but only smashed and swiftly gulped down without chewing.

Furthermore, those who suffer from gastric reflux should stay away from foods that trigger the problem.   

Very hard foods are the malefactor for  cracked teeth and fillings and, consequentially, hypersensitivity. Crunching ice and hard candies is fancy, but disastrous. As well, skip caramels and other excessively sticky foods.    

Glass of Cola Drink with Ice
Eat More Orange!
Close View of Ripe Strawberries
Iced Kiwi
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Important

  • Reduce the contact of your teeth with acid food and drink – replace fruit juices and effervescent drinks with still water or (sugar-free) tea.
  • When you choose fruit juices or gassy drinks, swallow them down quickly – never swish or hold them in your mouth for any period.
  • Giving up sparkling beverages is my greatest sacrifice. Thus, when I do sin I tend to drink them all through a straw – even the beer!
  • If you are sick, brushing your teeth within one hour after vomiting is strictly forbidden due to stomach acid. Rinse your mouth first with water and then with fluoride mouthwash.  
  • Rinsing with fluoride mouthwash frequently help reduce oral conditions.  
  • If you cannot brush after the meal, help yourself with sugar-free chewing gum. 
  • Brushing teeth both too vigorously or too often is harmful. Rinsing (with fluoride mouthwash) is considerably more advantageous.  

Medical Aid

In the event that everything else fails to alleviate the discomforting pain, talk to  with your dentist about reducing the transmission of tingles by applying fluoride gel to most sensitive areas.

If it happens that gums are vastly receded, dentin bonding agents at the root of the tooth can seal the touchy zone.

As a last resort, endodontic (root canal) treatment solves the problem when persistent and insufferable hypersensitivity cannot be healed in any other way.

Whether you are a victim of bruxism (grinding teeth), protective teeth grinding guard wear is highly recommended.  

Updated: 05/24/2012, grandi
 
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grandi on 04/05/2012

I know what are you talking about - when the sugar in the blood drops... However, you do not have to feel guilty. Eat what your body is craving for, then wash your mouth with good mouth wash. Brushing teeth too often can be bad, while quality mouth wash only benefits.

katiem2 on 04/05/2012

Very nice and informative page, I tend to get sensitive teeth any time I eat something sugary, I don't eat much sugar but when I do I feel it...

grandi on 02/24/2012

Despite the pain, I adore frozen desserts - I could kill for delicious, mouth watering Mars or Snickers frozen bar...
My best friend Susie is awesome: first, she puts the whole container in a micro oven to melt it slightly, then she cleans it up :)

Jeannieinabottle, I warmly recommend the Curaprox Enzycal toothpaste that is great prevention - if only I knew about it years ago!

Jimmie on 02/24/2012

I have sensitive teeth, too. I've never enjoyed frozen desserts because of it and have only in recent years been able to enjoy iced beverages.

Jeannieinabottle on 02/23/2012

This is really helpful information. I just recently developed sensitive teeth. The pain all started one day with a pineapple and I haven't been the same since. I've started using Pronamel and it really helps.

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