There are only a few things more painful than a toothache. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, as much as 40 million people in the United States – roughly one-tenth of the country’s population – suffer from sensitive teeth. Toothaches can be brought about by several causes, the most common of which is the presence of cavities. The tooth’s enamel, the hard, protective covering of the tooth, is a layer above the dentin, the softer layer connected to the root of the tooth. When cavities invade a tooth, they eat away the enamel protection, exposing the dentin directly connected to the root. What happens next could range from minor annoyance to excruciating pain that can drastically affect your career and personal life.
Aside from cavities, other common factors that can contribute to sensitive teeth are things that we don’t tend to think about too much. One such factor would be over-brushing the teeth. Some of us are under the impression that the more vigorous you brush your teeth, the more cavities you get out of your pearly whites. However, this isn’t the case. Over-brushing can wear out the enamel of the teeth, just like cavities, and expose the dentin underneath. Other factors that can also contribute to sensitive teeth are gum recessions, cracked teeth and oral infections and diseases like gingivitis.
Fortunately, there are quick and easy ways to treat and remedy sensitive teeth. LiveScience gives us a few tips on how we can treat a toothache brought about by worn-out enamel. One important advice for people with sensitive teeth would be to use desensitizing toothpaste. Toothpaste especially made for sensitive teeth, like Sensodyne and Colgate, can be used to clean teeth with worn-out enamel. Cleveland Clinic advices people to dab a small amount of desensitizing toothpaste on the exposed areas for maximum effect. Additionaly, using a flouridized toothpaste is better for sensitive teeth than tartar-based toothpaste.
Using soft-bristled toothbrush is also preferred over the more common hard-bristled toothbrush. However it must be remembered that people with sensitive teeth should avoid brushing their teeth too hard, regardless of the type of toothbrush they use.
Avoiding highly-acidic food like certain fruit juices and candy can also prevent further erosion of enamel in the teeth. Some brands of mouthwash can also be too acidic or harmful for the teeth. It is best to limit mouthwash use and not overuse them. More preferably, people with sensitive teeth should use flouridized mouthwash as an aide to flouridized toothpaste.
Lastly, if you are a teeth grinder, consider wearing a mouth guard. Teeth grinding doesn’t go away at will, and wearing protection while sleeping is the best option for people who want to protect their pearly whites from their nightly grinding.
[Image from World Bank Photo Collection/Flickr]