How To Avoid Tooth Sensitivity
Tooth sensitivity refers to the sharp sensation brought about by the exposure of dentin to the external environment. The dentin is the bone-like tissue layer, yellowish in color, found next to the enamel layer. This tissue is made up of small tubules known as the dentinal tubules, which is filled with dentinal fluid. When this dentinal fluid is subjected to temperature or pressure changes (which can be triggered by drinking hot or cold fluids, for instance), fluid movement occurs, resulting to the stimulation of the nerve fibers found in the pulp. Stimulation of those nerve fibers then leads to tooth sensitivity.
Factors that can lead to the exposure of the dentin include the presence of exposed tooth roots due to gum recession (caused by periodontal disease), tooth decay, restorative procedures, parafunctional habits (such as teeth grinding), etc. Tooth sensitivity is most common among young adults aged 25 to 30.
The treatment for tooth sensitivity involves identifying and eliminating the cause. Although that might seem pretty simple, it would still be better if it can be prevented from occurring in the first place. So in this article, what we will discuss are some tips on how to avoid tooth sensitivity.
Avoid using toothbrushes with hard bristles and employ proper brushing techniques
Vigorous brushing using a hard-bristled toothbrush causes the enamel to wear faster, exposing the dentin found underneath it. Apart from that, gum recession will also likely to occur. Both of these result to tooth sensitivity. To prevent this, you should use toothbrushes with soft bristles. And regarding the brushing technique, you consult your dentist and he/she will tell you which brushing technique will be most suitable for your case, and then demonstrate it to you.
Have all your decayed teeth restored
Tooth decay is characterized by the dissolution of the tooth enamel and the tissues underneath it. In a decayed tooth where most of the enamel has already been dissolved or destroyed, dentin exposure and tooth sensitivity occurs. This is why as soon as you notice cavitations on your teeth, even if it is still small, have them restored by your dentist as soon as possible.
If you’re a bruxist, use a mouth guard at night
Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a habit triggered by stress, malocclusion, or joint problems. Severe teeth grinding causes wearing of enamel and exposure of the underlying dentin. Patients with this habit should consult a dentist. Your dentist will construct a mouth guard for you which you can use at night to protect your teeth. In case of stress-related bruxism, relaxation techniques should be employed.
Keep your gums healthy
Gum recession, as mentioned, leads to tooth sensitivity due to the exposure of the root surface of the tooth. Therefore, another way to avoid tooth sensitivity is by keeping your gums healthy. You can do this by going to your dentist regularly to undergo a procedure called scaling and polishing. In such procedure, your dentist will remove all plaque and tartar that might have accumulated near or underneath the gum line, thereby preventing recession. You can also maintain the health of your gums by using proper brushing techniques, which you can learn from your dentist.
Choose your teeth whitening products carefully
Majority of the most commonly-used teeth whitening products today contain hydrogen peroxide as the active ingredient. Such agent can cause teeth sensitivity by thinning out the enamel. Some products contain high concentration of this agent, and you should be careful about using those. Once you feel sensitivity, then you should discontinue using your teeth whitening product and consult your dentist for remedy.
Use dentist-recommended mouthwash
Some OTC (Over the Counter) mouthwashes contain acids that can erode the enamel and expose the dentin. This problem can be avoided by consulting your dentist regarding the mouthwash that you are planning to use, or purchasing one recommended by him or her. Mouthwashes containing fluoride can help relieve the sensitivity. Fluoride has the ability effectively seal the open dentinal tubules which contain fluids that stimulates the nerves in the pulp.
Avoid eating or drinking acidic foods and beverages
Frequent intake of acidic foods and beverages can also dissolve the enamel and expose the dentin. Therefore, consumption of highly acidic beverages, fruit drinks with acidic preservative, citrus fruit, and pickles should be limited. If you really can’t control your consumption, you can just drink your acidic beverages using a straw, so that the contact between the teeth and the erosive acids will be minimized. The dentist can recommend a dentifrice that contains high fluoride to regenerate the mineral formation of the affected tooth.
In general, tooth sensitivity can be prevented by avoiding anything that can cause exposure of the dentin, which you can do so by following the tips given above. For those who are already experiencing tooth sensitivity, you use a desensitizing dental product, or better yet, go to your dentist for proper treatment.
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