Have you ever felt that sharp, sudden pain stemming from the teeth? If you haven’t, you are one of the lucky few. This uncomfortable sensation, and very often painful, is called tooth sensitivity. It happens because the dentin becomes exposed to the exterior stimuli. But, let’s take a step back and explain why tooth sensitivity happens and how to get rid of it at home.
When does tooth sensitivity appear?
The tooth has three main parts – the enamel, the dentin, and the pulp. The enamel is the hard, protective outer layer of the tooth that makes sure the tooth stays secure, safe, and white. The dentin is right underneath the enamel, and it is the layer that consists of many tubules that are the receptors or the exterior stimuli. In the middle of the tooth is the pulp, which connects the tooth with the root, and inside, all the nerves are located.
When the enamel is destroyed, the dentin is exposed – it comes on the top as a first layer. Hence, when you take a sip of hot or cold beverage or try to bite down some food, a sharp pain is felt. From all this, we can conclude that the reason for tooth sensitivity is the destroyed enamel.
But how is the enamel destroyed?
There are several ways how the enamel can be destroyed. First and foremost – the constant consumption of acidic and sweetened food and beverages. Eating and drinking foods such as sour candies, bread, alcohol, sodas, ice, citrus fruits, potato chips, dried fruits, coffee, etc. Even though these are recommended not to be used daily, and you should really stick to this rule, you still can’t eliminate them altogether from your diet. What you can do, though, is brush your teeth a couple of minutes after consuming such foods, especially at night.
Secondly, aggressive brushing also causes tooth sensitivity. Keep in mind that you can’t finish brushing your teeth under 1 minute if you do it faster and more aggressively. All you can do is cause harm to the enamel. The teeth should be brushed with a soft or medium bristled toothbrush and in up and down movements. Don’t brush in saw-like movement because you will irritate the gums. Also, all three exterior sides of the tooth should be brushed carefully, not only the side visible only when we smile. The in-between should be cleared with a floss, at least once or twice a day.
Thirdly, tooth grinding is a nasty destroyer of the enamel. Many people clench and grind their teeth in sleep so tight that the enamel quickly wears off. Because of that bad habit, it is recommended to wear a mouth guard that will keep the teeth on both jaws separated.
Next, dental cleanings and procedures also make the teeth sensitive. Usually, this type of tooth sensitivity wears down after several days on its own. However, you can use over-the-counter fluoride or desensitizing products that will quickly decrease the pain. The fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps with the remineralization of the teeth, so a fluoride toothpaste should always be at hand.
Finally, gum disease is perhaps the most painful causer of tooth sensitivity. When the gum tissue becomes inflamed, it pulls away from the tooth, thus exposing the dentin along with the vulnerable areas. In case the gum is inflamed, and gum disease has started developing, the best advice is to make an appointment with the dentist and follow their advice promptly. Usually, they will prescribe you some medicinal mouth rinses or toothpaste to use until the conditioned of the gum is improved.
What to do to avoid the appearance of tooth sensitivity?
For starters, brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once or twice a day. Don’t consume acidic or sweetened food and beverages and stay away from sticky foods. Furthermore, use fluoride toothpaste or mouth rinse and do regular check-ups with the dentist to detect any early problems like cavities, periodontal diseases, or gingivitis.
In the meantime, a very efficient home remedy, along with the over-the-counter products you are using, is the rinsing with salt water. It is proven that salt water is an effective antiseptic that reduced inflammation, and swishing it around in the mouth will help you relieve the pain. You can make it with ½ tablespoon of salt added to a glass of lukewarm water and swish it about 30 seconds.
Another home remedy that works is a solution of honey and warm water. Honey is an antibacterial agent, and it helps with healing, reducing pain, swelling, and inflammation. The procedure is the same as the one with a salt rinse – mix a tablespoon of honey with warm water and rinse the mouth.
Finally, use green tea for rinsing the mouth to strengthen the sensitive teeth and reduce inflammation. The green tea is a powerful antioxidant that has huge benefits in oral health as well.