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Teeth sensitivity can be a pain. It is a common complaint with a multitude of different causes. In today’s post we’ll be talking about simple treatments for general sensitivity, the kind caused by the wearing away of the protective enamel on your teeth. This leads to the exposure of dentin which has tiny channels (tubules) that link to the nerves inside the tooth, allowing painful stimuli to be transmitted if there are any sudden changes in the tooth’s environment. Here are some ways to prevent and treat it:
1. Gently does it. Rigorous brushing can cause the wearing away of enamel and actually lead to sensitivity. To combat this, use a soft toothbrush and apply gentle pressure – this will actually allow the bristles greater freedom to get into all the gaps.
2. Bring on the (desensitising) agents! Desensitising agents, such as Sensodyne toothpaste, can be bought over the counter and work by blocking the tubules in the exposed dentin. Place it on the area of sensitivity and leave it there for at least 30mins before rinsing; this should allow it the time it needs to take effect. These types of toothpastes can take a few weeks to show results, but may be used indefinitely, if required.
3. Use a fluoride rinse. Desensitising agents aren’t effective for everyone, but luckily there are some high-fluoride mouthwashes available that are specifically targeted for sensitive teeth. These are best used twice a day, swishing around your teeth for 30 seconds before spitting out; skip rinsing it out at night to make sure your teeth are exposed for a longer period.
4. Don’t grind those teeth. Teeth grinding is a cause for loss of enamel, leading to dentin exposure. If you’re someone who grinds their teeth, specifically at night your dentist can help by fitting you with a nightguard to prevent damage. During the day though, watch those chompers!
5. Put away the bleach. Teeth bleaching or whitening can often result in sensitivity, so make sure you consult with your dentist before using these products.