Sensitive teeth can ruin your summer when suddenly it's too painful to eat the delicious ice cream and refreshing cold drinks. But sensitive teeth can be easily treated and can be treated at home.
What causes sensitive teeth?
Pain caused by sensitive teeth is usually the result of the tooth nerve becoming exposed. Normally, the nerve is protected by a layer of enamel and the gum.
As you age, the enamel naturally thins, but not caring properly for your teeth and eating acidic foods and drinks can speed up the erosion of the enamel. Underneath the enamel are small holes in the dentine of the tooth, and these holes lead straight to the nerve running through your tooth.
Similarly, your gum line will naturally recede as you get older. But gum disease, caused by improper teeth cleaning, can also cause damage to the gums and make them recede faster.
This damage over time allows hot, cold, spicy and acidic food and drink to get too close to the nerve in your tooth, resulting in the sharp pain or dull ache you experience.
Six home remedies to sooth your sensitive teeth
- Change to a soft bristled toothbrush. Hard or medium bristles may make your gums sore and lead to further damage to your gum and enamel.
- Brush, don't scrub. You're brushing your teeth, not scrubbing them. Be gentle with your mouth to prevent any extra damage.
- Don't brush straight after eating. When you're eating, the acidity of your mouth increases as you chew. This acidity weakens the enamel of your teeth, so if you brush straight away, you'll strip the enamel away. Either wait an hour before brushing to give your enamel time to re-harden, or brush before you eat.
- Use warm water. Try cleaning your teeth using warm water to avoid the pain that comes with using cold water.
- Try some garlic. Garlic and salt both contain antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and garlic has been proven to reduce pain. Mix some garlic powder or a crushed clove with some salt and rub the mixture on the affected area. Alternatively, you can chew a garlic clove to relieve the pain.
- Create a mouthwash. A warm salt rinse can clean the affected area, reduce swelling and help your mouth to heal quickly. Mix half a spoonful of salt in a glass of hot water, wait for it to cool and swish it around your mouth.
If your sensitive teeth continue to cause pain, are affecting your daily life or you have any concerns, speak with your dentist.