If you experience sensitive teeth, you know just how difficult it can be to enjoy everyday things like a warm cup of coffee or tea or even a sweet treat. Usually, tooth sensitivity is the result of worn down enamel. While you can’t exactly restore this enamel, there are steps you can take to reduce tooth sensitivity. Try these ideas and see what works for you!
Relieve Tooth Sensitivity with New Brushing Habits
Your first line of defense against annoying tooth sensitivity is a good toothpaste designed specifically for sensitive teeth. Regular toothpastes, and especially whitening toothpastes, can aggravate sensitive teeth because they often contain abrasive ingredients. On the other hand, toothpastes for sensitive teeth clean just as well and offer the added benefit of a chemical–potassium nitrate–which assists with blocking off the tiny tubes in your teeth left exposed by worn-away enamel (the same tubes which create the feeling of sensitivity).
In addition to switching toothpastes, you’ll want to make some changes to your brushing habits. Continue brushing at least twice a day, but make sure you use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brushing for about two minutes is a good goal, but longer than four minutes and you’ll risk wearing down your enamel further and creating even more tooth sensitivity. The folks over at HealthLine offer an additional tip to help you calibrate your brushing: “Brush your teeth like you’re polishing an eggshell. If your toothbrush looks like someone sat on it, you’re applying too much pressure.” So, consistent, gentle brushing with a toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth is step one in relieving tooth sensitivity.
Relieve Tooth Sensitivity by Changing Eating Habits
In addition to changing up your brushing habits, you’ll want to avoid certain foods and drinks. This may sound like more of the same–isn’t your diet already restricted by your sensitive teeth? But the hope is, by avoiding these prime suspects, you can gradually begin adding back in other foods or drinks you’ve been missing.
The most important way to protect your sensitive teeth is to avoid acidic foods and drinks as best you can. This includes everything from seltzer water to wine, tomatoes to high-sugar foods. Acidic foods and drinks not only wear down your enamel; they aggravate tooth sensitivity, too. On the occasions when you do enjoy acidic foods or drinks, don’t brush your teeth right after. This can actually worsen the assault on your enamel.
Making these changes should go a long way toward helping you enjoy hot and cold foods and beverages that you miss, but if tooth sensitivity continues to be a problem, be sure to speak with your dentist for more guidance. Some dentists even offer varnishes or resins that can be applied to teeth in-office to help reduce tooth sensitivity.