5 Home Remedies for Sensitive Teeth

Is a taste of ice cream or a sip of hot coffee sometimes a painful experience for you? Does brushing or flossing make you wince occasionally? If so, you may have a common problem called “sensitive teeth“.

For millions of people, sensitive teeth can make life miserable. The pain and discomfort make even favorite hot or cold foods impossible to enjoy. All is not lost. In many cases, sensitive teeth can be successfully treated bringing long sought after relief.

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

The part of the tooth we can see is covered by a layer of enamel that protects the softer dentine underneath. If the dentine is exposed, a tooth can become sensitive. This usually happens where the tooth and the gum meet and the enamel layer is much thinner.

Here are Some Causes of Teeth Sensitivity.

Toothbrush abrasion – brushing too hard, and brushing from side to side, can cause dentine to be worn away, particularly where the teeth meet the gums. The freshly exposed dentine may then become sensitive.

Dental erosion – this is loss of tooth enamel caused by attacks of acid from acidic food and drinks. If enamel is worn away the dentine underneath is exposed, which may lead to sensitivity.

Gum recession – gums may naturally recede (shrink back), and the roots will become exposed and can be more sensitive. Root surfaces do not have an enamel layer to protect them.

Gum disease – a build-up of plaque or tartar can cause the gum to recede down the tooth and even destroy the bony support of the tooth. Pockets can form in the gums around the tooth, making the area difficult to keep clean and the problem worse.

Tooth grinding – this is a habit which involves clenching and grinding the teeth together. This can cause the enamel of the teeth to be worn away, making the teeth sensitive.

Other Causes of Dental Pain from Teeth Sensitivity

A cracked tooth or filling – a cracked tooth is one that has become broken. A crack can run from the biting surface of a tooth down towards the root. Extreme temperatures, especially cold, may cause discomfort.

Tooth bleaching – some patients have sensitivity for a short time during or after having their teeth bleached. Discuss this with your dentist before having treatment

Preventing Sensitive Teeth (Dentin Hypersensitivity)

The key to preventing tooth sensitivity is to keep the gums from receding. Reducing the pressure we use to brush our teeth helps tremendously. The problem with this is that our tooth brushing is an unconsciously ingrained habit reinforced after decades of brushing and therefore nearly impossible to change.

Dentists advise people to use an advanced electric toothbrushes (plaque remover). These toothbrushes feature pressure sensors that stop the brush when you apply too much pressure. Another option is the Alert toothbrush, which activates a warning light when you brush too hard.

5 Home Remedies for Sensitive Teeth

Bring on the desensitizing toothpaste. Unfortunately, widespread tooth sensitivity due to enamel abrasion or gum-line recession can’t be treated with dental fillings. Instead, try brushing with a desensitizing toothpaste, which you can buy over the counter. These special toothpastes contain ingredients that diminish sensitivity by filling channels (known as tubules) in the dentin.

Try putting some of the toothpaste on your finger or on a cotton swab and spreading it over the sensitive spots before you go to bed. Spit, but don’t rinse. Within a few weeks, your teeth should begin to feel less sensitive.

Try a fluoride rinse. Fluoride rinses, available without a prescription at your local pharmacy or in the dental section of grocery stores, can help decrease sensitivity, especially for people plagued with decay problems. Use it once a day. Swish it around in your mouth, then spit it out.

Sometimes, people with sensitive teeth need a stronger fluoride rinse or gel than the ones available over the counter. For example, some treatments for gum disease, such as root planing (which reduces plaque), can leave sensitive teeth even more sensitive than usual. In such situations, dentists can apply a fluoride gel that helps relieve the problem.

Keep your teeth clean. Plaque, the white gummy substance that forms on teeth, produces an acid that irritates teeth, especially if your choppers are naturally sensitive. Wage a daily attack against plaque by brushing at least twice, preferably right after eating and especially before bed, and flossing at least once.

Use a soft toothbrush. Often, people actually cause tooth sensitivity by brushing with too much force and/or brushing with a hard-bristled brush, which can damage the protective tooth enamel. When the gum-line recedes (often as a natural part of the aging process), exposed dentin becomes even more vulnerable to toothbrush abrasion. Use a brush with the softest bristles you can find, and apply only a small amount of pressure when brushing (actually, a lighter touch also allows the bristles to move more freely and do their job more effectively than when you press too hard).

Say, “Enough!” to snuff. Chewing tobacco, also known as “dip” or “snuff,” is a popular habit in some groups, especially among many male teenagers. They mistakenly believe it’s less harmful than smoking cigarettes. However, in addition to causing mouth cancers, chewing tobacco causes the gums to recede, a major cause of gum sensitivity and decay. Just as there is no safe cigarette, there is no safe tobacco.

Habits like sucking on hard candy, while certainly healthier than chewing snuff, can also cause enamel abrasion and tooth sensitivity.

Treating Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth can be treated. Your dentist may suggest that you try a desensitizing toothpaste, which contains compounds that help block transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve. Desensitizing toothpaste usually requires several applications before the sensitivity is reduced. When choosing toothpaste or any other dental care products, look for those that display the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance–your assurance that products have met ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness.

If the desensitizing toothpaste does not ease your discomfort, your dentist may suggest in-office techniques. A fluoride gel, which strengthens tooth enamel and reduces the transmission of sensations, may be applied to the sensitive areas of the teeth.

If receding gums cause the sensitivity, your dentist may use agents that bond to the tooth root to “seal” the sensitive teeth. The sealer usually is composed of a plastic material.

In cases where hypersensitivity is severe and persistent and cannot be treated by other means, your dentist may recommend endodontic (root canal) treatment to eliminate the problem.

  • http://www.maidpro.com Layla

    I’ve actually been thinking about implementing the same practices in my home and residential cleaning business. Great thoughts and thank you for the helpful information.

  • Alex Bo

    You welcome! I hope it will be great for your clients.

  • Monica Lavale

    This was very much informative and helpful. All you said here was about reducing tooth sensitivity which is caused by wearing away of tooth enamel. Are there any means by which I can develop back the natural tooth enamel, which could also help whitening of teeth naturally?

  • Cleaning Lady

    Nice and usefull post, thanks, this is one for my bookmarks!

  • roya

    I have been to the dentist, who said that i have been grinding and clenching my teeth at night. So, he gave me an appliance to wear. He also put that gel on my teeth twice. I was painfree for about 2-3 weeks. Now, it is back and the pain is killing me. I already paid so much money. I dont know what to do…i am so desperate…please help.

  • http://worldental.org/ Dental Health Magazine

    Roya, address your dentist, may be it is his fault or you have used appliance not right.

  • Kayla

    Thanks! I’ll be sure to brush softer now.

  • sharath chandra

    Dental sensitivity could be caused by many things.Its the painful response of the teeth to a damage ,like any other part of the body.Now whats importnt than trying to fade the pain off is that: 1.to prevent any damage to the teeth
    2.to knw the cause of the dental pain and get treated accordingly

    if the troubling body part is cured….you obviously treated pain. for that you gonna need proffessional care.

    but what you can do instantly for temporary relief of dental hypersensitivity or sensitive teeth is to block the supplying nerves….you can do that by applying any sensitive tooth paste that contains closer 0r more to 5percent of flourides or pottassium nitrate for half n hour.also use the same for brushing….pottassium nitrate works like an astringent on the tooth and the sensitivity lowers drastically…then VISIT YOUR DENTIST to knw why theres a dental hypersensitivity…..cause living with a painful repairable part of ya body is better than painless irrepairable damage done to it with the ignorance.

  • Tess Hulet RDH

    I want to know if there are remedies for sensieve teeth that do not contain fluoride or other chemicals. I have patients who want to use a natural remedy. Do you know any?