Sponsored by Sensodyne Toothpaste
of sensitive teeth
SOMETIMES ONE’S FAVORITE foods and beverages, whether hot, cold,
sweet or sour, are impossible to enjoy. The culprit? Sensitive teeth.
One in every five adults, 45 million in the United States alone, suffers
from sensitive teeth, experiencing pain that ranges from mild discomfort to
sudden, sharp and shooting pain deep in the nerve endings of the tooth.
Tooth sensitivity occurs when the underlying layer of the teeth—the
dentin—becomes exposed, probably due to receding gum tissue or worn
enamel caused by aggressive brushing, revealing the tooth roots. When the
sensory nerves in the tooth roots are exposed to things such as ice cream,
citrus, tea, soup or even just cold air, then … ouch!
Not treating sensitive teeth can bring on even more anguish. Tooth pain
might diminish one’s brushing and flossing, and that, in turn, can lead to
plaque buildup, gingivitis, periodontal disease or eventual tooth loss.
On the other hand, treating sensitive teeth can be easy and quite
painless. Sensitivity toothpastes containing potassium nitrate can help reduce
discomfort by desensitizing the tooth nerve directly. Fluoride mouthwashes
can also be beneficial. After using these for a few weeks, many people find
that their tooth sensitivity goes away. However, even when the pain does stop,
continuing to brush with sensitivity toothpaste will help prevent tooth pain
from coming back.
There are other steps to take to help relieve tooth sensitivity.
• Moderate sweet or acidic food intake.
• Reduce tooth abrasion by brushing teeth gently in a circular
motion with a soft-bristle toothbrush.
• Floss carefully below the gum line in an up-and-down motion.
• Limit cosmetic whitening and bleaching.
Above all, it’s important to follow your dentist’s or hygienist’s advice about
caring for sensitive teeth. And, of course, have regular checkups to keep
your teeth from becoming a more serious problem. A
Crack or chip
Gum recession exposing