Eating Ice Cream Shouldn’t Hurt: How to Help Sensitive Teeth
Does the thought of taking a big bite of ice cream make you cringe? It shouldn’t, but it does for millions of Americans. Sensitive teeth and gums can make ice cream eating painful, as well as cause discomfort when eating all sorts of cold or hot foods and beverages. July 16th was National Ice Cream Day, and if your ice cream holiday was soured by teeth sensitivity, read on. We’ve compiled some great tips on how to help your sensitive teeth.
Get Rid of Your Sensitivity With These Tips
Sensitive teeth are usually the result of exposed dentin. Dentin is the material that makes up the inside of your teeth, and it contains tiny nerve endings that can cause sensitivity when they’re not protected. Materials like enamel protect the dentin, but enamel can be worn down by a few culprits:
- Brushing with too much gusto: Hard brushing can wear down the enamel on your teeth, exposing the sensitive dentin. Opt for a very soft toothbrush and lessen the force you place when you brush. You might also benefit from an electric toothbrush that lets you know when you’re pressing too hard.
- Enjoying too many acidic foods and drinks: Dont go crazy with the citrus fruits, soda, and teas. Too much acidity without brushing often in between can erode the enamel on your teeth, leaving your teeth sensitive. Try cutting down on acidic foods and drinks for a week and see if you notice a difference.
- Grinding Your Teeth: Grinding your teeth while stressed or at night can wear down the enamel on your teeth or cause cracks in them that reveal the dentin inside. Your dentist can create a mouth guard for you that fits perfectly and protects your teeth.
- Overdoing it with the Teeth Whitening: White teeth look great, but getting the results can cause sensitivity in your teeth. Doing it too often, as well as certain methods and brands, can affect your teeth and cause them to be sensitive. Take a break from whitening if you do it often and see if the sensitivity goes down. You can also try a different brand, or ask your dentist which one is best for sensitive teeth.
- A Filling May Be Cracked: Over time, fillings in your mouth can chip or fall out, leaving some of the inside of your tooth exposed. On your next visit to the dentist, have her check your fillings and crowns to make sure there are no cracks or fissures, and have them filled if there are.
- An Infection May Be Forming: If your sensitivity has come on suddenly, you may be experiencing an infection that could require a filling or root canal treatment. Even if your pain goes away after a few days, it’s best to visit your dentist because once the infection attacks the nerves of your teeth, you may not feel anything anymore, but the infection is still there.
Like enamel, gums are also helping to protect your teeth. They cover the roots of your teeth and the bone tissue that help keep your teeth in place. Gums can recede, due to genetics, oral habits, or age. When that happens, it can expose the root of the tooth, causing sensitivity. Brushing with a soft brush and desensitizing toothpaste can alleviate the sensitivity, but you should also ask your dentist about the recession. Your dentist or periodontist (gum specialist) can measure the depth of the recession, which will help determine the treatment.
The options for treating gum recession have improved quite a bit in the last decade, so ask your dentist or periodontist which option would make the most sense for you. Keep in mind that gum recession worsens as we get older, so going in for regular checkups can help your dentist treat any problems before they get worse. Gum recession that goes untreated can lead to bone loss and eventually tooth loss.
Now that you know some of the causes and fixes for tooth sensitivity, we hope you can enjoy that summer ice cream cone with no pain. If you have any questions about tooth sensitivity or would like to visit our periodontist, you can always give us a call at 201-501-8282.