Sensitive teeth are no fun. Especially since enjoying your favorite foods and beverages should be one of life’s simple pleasures each day. And while there are multiple causes of sensitivity, the good news is that there are also multiple solutions. If you’ve ever asked yourself the question, “How do I fix my sensitive teeth?”, keep reading for 5 easy strategies you can use right away to help your teeth feel comfortable, no matter what you’re eating!
1. Brush Properly
To reduce sensitivity, it’s important to use the right toothbrush and the right technique. While it may seem like a hard-bristled brush would do a better job, dentists actually recommend soft bristles. Over time, scrubbing your teeth and gums with a hard-bristled brush can wear away at the enamel and the sensitive roots of your teeth.
In addition to using soft bristles, be sure to use light pressure as well. As long as you’re brushing for two minutes, you’ll still get your teeth and gums clean without doing any damage. You can also opt for an electric toothbrush that, when used properly, uses much less pressure than a manual.
2. Use Extra Fluoride
Fluoride is a mineral that benefits your oral health in multiple ways. First, it strengthens your teeth and prevents cavities. It also puts a protective coating over the teeth and exposed root surfaces and significantly reduces sensitivity.
There are several ways to use extra topical fluoride. If you have severe sensitivity, you may get the best results from a combination of the following:
- Swish with a fluoride mouthwash from the store twice a day after brushing (sometimes called anti-cavity or sensitivity formula).
- Use a high-fluoride prescription toothpaste from your dentist.
- You can also have a professional fluoride varnish applied at your 6-month checkups.
3. Be Mindful of Acidic Foods and Beverages
Acidic foods and beverages will wear away at your enamel over time, exposing the sensitive tooth structure underneath. Here are some examples:
- Citrus fruits
- Carbonated beverages (including carbonated water and diet soda)
- Orange juice or water with lemon/lime
In addition to limiting these items, wait 20-30 minutes to brush your teeth after having them. The acid temporarily softens your enamel, increasing the risk of wearing it away from brushing (called toothbrush abrasion) and increasing sensitivity. Instead, simply rinse out your mouth with water or chew sugarless gum.
4. Use Toothpaste Designed For Sensitivity
These formulas contain special ingredients such as potassium nitrate that insulate the nerves of your teeth by putting a protective coating over them. The benefits are cumulative, so it may take 2-3 weeks of consistent use before you notice a difference.
5. Ask Your Dentist If You Need a Nightguard
Clenching and grinding at night are very common and have the potential consequence of increasing sensitivity. In addition to over-stimulating the nerves of your teeth, it can also lead to gum recession that exposes the sensitive roots of the teeth. Ask your dentist at your next checkup if they see signs of clenching and grinding. If so, a nightguard can make a big difference.
Sensitivity can really impact your everyday life. By using these 5 strategies, you can prevent or treat sensitive teeth so you can go back to enjoying your favorite foods and beverages, without discomfort!
About the Author
Dr. Robert Long (aka Dr. Bob) has been practicing as a second-generation family dentist for over 25 years. With a focus on early intervention, he’s helped countless patients overcome sensitivity by recommending simple tips and tricks. If you have sensitive teeth and have any questions, you can contact him via his website anytime.