If sipping a cold drink or biting into hot food makes you wince with discomfort, then you may have sensitive teeth. Also known as dentin hypersensitivity, sensitive teeth are characterized by sharp pain that causes you to bring your hand to your mouth to cushion your teeth. Nerve damage or habitual tooth grinding may promote this condition, but the root cause is usually enamel loss or gum line recession. Fortunately, there are several home remedies for sensitive teeth.
Try brushing with over-the-counter toothpaste formulated to desensitize the teeth. These pastes contain strontium chloride or potassium nitrate as the active ingredient. Either one helps to block the uncomfortable sensation from traveling from the tooth to the nerve. While these pastes can’t replenish lost enamel or compensate for recession of the gums, their active ingredients collect in the channel-like tubules in your dentin and act as temporary fillers.
Overnight Spot Treatment
In addition to brushing regularly with desensitizing toothpaste, it sometimes helps to spread a little of the same paste on sensitive areas just before going to bed. The secret to success is to skip the usual rinsing step to allow the paste to work while you sleep. According to Dental Health Magazine, practicing this habit each night will significantly reduce your tooth sensitivity within a few weeks.
Brush More Often
This home remedy is simple enough, yet its effectiveness can’t be emphasized too much. Ideally, you should brush your teeth at least twice each day, especially after meals and before going to bed. The main reason for doing this is to remove dental plaque before it has a chance to harden and promote tooth decay. However, during the time between eating or drinking and brushing your teeth, the plaque releases an acid that increases tooth sensitivity even more.
It’s tempting to think that a hard-bristled toothbrush is doing a better job of cleaning your teeth. The same can be said for applying excessive pressure. The truth is, hard scrubbing or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can damage the enamel and cause the gum to recede, leading to tooth sensitivity. So, opt for a soft-bristled toothbrush and let the instrument to its job without using too much force.
If you have enough dental floss in the bathroom medicine cabinet to go around the world three times, then it’s time to taking flossing seriously. Regular flossing after brushing helps to remove materials that the toothbrush misses. Unless it’s removed, it will turn to hardened plaque within 72 hours and can only be removed by a dentist. Meanwhile, the plaque will irritate your teeth and cause sensitivity.