Do you feel a slight twinge in your gums every time you eat something hot or cold? Do you complain about not enjoying your food because of a certain sensation in your teeth? If you answer yes to both, you may be one of the thousands of people who suffer from teeth sensitivity. It is a very common, troublesome dental condition that affects people of all ages and can begin anytime. According to HealthDay, 1 in 8 adults may suffer from teeth sensitivity.
While teeth sensitivity is not considered a dental disease, it can be as annoying. Imagine not being able to enjoy delicious food anytime you please because of a sudden short and sharp pain every time you bite into anything hot or cold. It may not be fatal but it can also help you discover what other dental problems you may have.
Why do some people have sensitive teeth?
Sensitive teeth is the result of a worn-out tooth enamel or tooth roots. The tooth enamel serves as the protective film of your tooth and prevents bacteria from directly affecting your tooth's physical structure. It protects it from breaking too easily as well. The main purpose of having a protective enamel for your roots is to cover up something more sensitive: your tooth roots.
Found in the tooth roots is a network of veins that supplies your teeth and gums with the amount of blood needed for its normal functioning. The veins also allow your teeth to feel. When the outer covering that protects your tooth roots are damaged, sensations are doubly felt by the pain receptors which causes the uncomfortable twinge whenever you eat hot or cold food. Another reason for having sensitive teeth is receding gums which exposes a part of your teeth’s root to the external part.
Experiencing sensitive teeth may also be an indication of a more alarming dental problem such as any of the following:
- Tooth decay near the gum line
- Inflamed and sore gums
- Wear and tear due to teeth grinding
- Plaque buildup
- Too much acidic foods
- Worn out dental work
- Use of tooth whitening products
What triggers sensitive teeth?
When your gum recedes and your tooth enamel is damaged, you should be more careful about your nutritional intake since food can greatly trigger sensitivity. The following should be avoided if you don't want to experience the discomfort:
- Cold Foods and Beverages
- Hot Foods and Beverages
- Chemical Stimulus
Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth
You may have heard about some toothpaste brands that can ease the pain of sensitive teeth. They come in different colors, flavors, and prices but all strive to perform a single function---to keep teeth sensitivity at bay.
There are two types of Desensitizing Toothpastes: Potassium Desensitizing Toothpaste and Calcium Based Desensitizing Toothpaste. Upon using, make sure to let it stay for at least 30 minutes on your teeth. Instead of rinsing out with water, spit out the excess suds from your mouth. Not washing it off entirely gives it an opportunity to set inside your gum line, providing your teeth relief from pain and sensitivity.
Desensitizing toothpastes work differently, so you must choose the kind of sensitivity toothpaste that fits you.
Potassium Desensitizing Toothpaste
Their main component is the high concentration of potassium ions which depolarize nerve endings near the dentin, preventing the nerves from sending pain signals. It may take 2-4 weeks before you feel the maximum effect of the toothpaste.
In 2-4 weeks, the toothpaste will gradually improve the teeth enamel which also helps prevent tooth decay aside from reducing painful sensitivity. You shouldn't use potassium desensitizing toothpaste if you are allergic to any ingredient in the toothpaste particularly sodium fluoride or potassium nitrate. Some other conditions also prevent you from using this type of toothpaste. You may not want to use it if you:
Potassium desensitizing toothpaste is chemical-based and thus should be used with utmost care.
- are pregnant or planning to become pregnant
- are taking any prescription medicines or prescribed herbal and dietary preparation
- are allergic to certain kinds of medicines
- have kidney problems.
Calcium Based Desensitizing Toothpastes
This type of toothpaste targets to mimic the natural way a tooth heals. It has a proportional amount of arginine and calcium that follows the re-mineralizing properties of the saliva that helps the teeth to clog open pores of the exposed dentin. If you want to have an immediate treatment, you can go for this type of toothpaste as its relief if more instantaneous. However, acid erosions that can happen in your teeth at any time of the day can reopen the pores allowing the pain receptors to open up again.
This is typically safe for all patients.
Toothpastes that minimize the painful sensations should be used as your regular toothpaste. Not all people experience tooth sensitivity, but for those who do, it is better to have a regular dose of desensitizing toothpaste to strengthen loose gums and protect open pores. If symptoms persists, call your dentist right away for a possible dental treatment.