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Have you ever experienced sensitivity in your teeth when drinking hot coffee or eating ice cream? How about when brushing your teeth? Ever wonder why this happens? Most of the time it is due to enamel wear of teeth. When this happens, the dentin (sensitive part of the tooth) is exposed and left vulnerable to all kinds of painful experiences, depending upon how severe.
When the dentin loses the protection of hard enamel, the nerves under the tooth are less protected, triggering pain whenever it is hit with a hot or cold temperature. So, how do you fix this problem? When even brushing causes intense pain and even damage to sensitive teeth, how are you supposed to keep protected against sensitivity?
Preventing loss of enamel as you age is the key to preventing this problem. Here are some tips to protect your teeth against loss of enamel causing discomfort and pain.
Good oral hygiene – The most obvious and important tip for keeping teeth and gums healthy. Gums protect your teeth just like enamel; your gumline prevents food particles and bacteria from entering below your gums. If your gums are unhealthy from lack of proper brushing and flossing, gums can recede, exposing tooth structure that is less protected causing discomfort. If brushing hurts, all the more reason to maintaining good oral habits. At our orthodontic practice we recommend a soft bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste. Hard bristled toothbrushes encourage gum loss and whitening or anti-tartar toothpastes can be abrasive, causing the sensitivity.
Brush correctly – One of the main causes of gum loss is improper brushing. Many people brush so hard, they’re actually damaging their teeth and gums.
Avoid acidic foods and drinks – Sodas, sports drinks, and citrus juices are a main staple in many diets today, but they also can be harmful to your teeth when consumed in excess. They are acidic and erode the protective enamel on your teeth. Pickles, white bread, eggs, dairy products, processed meats, and all forms of alcohol are highly acidic also. Cutting down on these foods and drinks can prevent their eroding effects, especially if you are already sensitive. Consuming sodas and citric juices through a straw will minimize their contact with your teeth and help reduce enamel erosion. However, we still recommend limiting the amount of acidic foods and drinks you consume every day for a healthier lifestyle.
Visit a dentist! No one knows more about your teeth than your dentist. We specialize in movement of teeth and jaw growth and limit our practice to orthodontic care, your dentist is the gate keeper for your overall dental health. If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, just ask your dentist about it next time you’re due for a dental exam. You’ll be glad you did.
Feel free to ask questions or leave comments about tooth sensitivity below. At Papandreas Orthodontics, our goal is to educated our patients and families about all aspects of dental care.