Sensitive Teeth

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How to combat teeth sensitivity..

Do you often feel a mild electric shock in your teeth when you bite into ice-creams or sip piping hot tea/coffee? Or perhaps, feel squeamish as you savor chilled beverages? If yes, it’s likely you suffer from teeth sensitivity. It’s a condition that can affect anyone irrespective of age and gender. Many in their 20s to 30s suffer from sensitivity. But relax, there’s no need to worry as teeth sensitivity can be easily dealt with. Read on to find out more…

What is it?

                Teeth sensitivity can range anywhere between feeling a mild twinge of discomfort for a brief moment to extreme pain that can go on for a few hours. It is found to be more common among people between the ages of 20 to 30, especially women. Teeth sensitivity is tooth discomfort in one or more tooth triggered by hot, cold, sweet or sour foods and drinks, or even by breathing cold air. The pain can be sharp, sudden, and shoot deep into the nerve endings of your teeth. Teeth sensitivity occurs when the dentin or the middle layer of the tooth is exposed. Usually the dentin is protected by the tooth enamel above the gum line. The dentin can get exposed due to a variety of reasons.

What are its causes?

                Mostly build up of plague on the teeth, prolonged usage of mouth wash, intake of acidic food, overlapping of a tooth by other tooth and eating lots of sweets. Sometimes, an odd filling with a crack or leak can also cause tooth sensitivity. Reasons like untreated cavities, decay or infection in the teeth and poor oral hygiene too can cause sensitivity of the teeth. Sensitive teeth occur when the under lying layer of your teeth becomes exposed as a result of receding gum tissue. The roots, which are not covered by hard enamel, contain thousands of tiny tubules leading to the tooth’s nerve centre. These dentinal tubules allow the stimuli. For example, the hot, cold or sweet food- to reach the nerve in your tooth, which results in the pain you feel.

                Other reasons like brushing too hard or using a hard bristled tooth brush over time can wear down enamel and cause the dentin to be exposed. It can also cause recession of the gums. Inflamed and sore gum tissue may cause sensitivity due to the loss of supporting ligaments, which exposes the root surface that leads directly to the nerve of the tooth.

                Sometimes chipped or broken teeth may fill with bacteria from plague and enter the pulp causing inflammation. Long-term use of certain mouth wash like some over-the-counter mouth washes that contain acids can worsen teeth sensitivity, if you have exposed dentin. The acids further damage the dentin layer of the tooth.

What’s the prescribed treatment?

                One must visit a dentist if they face teeth sensitivity. The doctor can then conduct sensitivity tests which can determine if root canal treatment is needed. One may be prescribed a stannous fluoride gel or over-the-counter desensitizing toothpaste containing fluoride and either potassium Nitrate or strontium chloride. These ingredients help block transmission of sensation from the tooth to the nerve. It also might help to massage the special paste onto your gums with your finger after brushing. However, seek professional tooth cleaning, oral hygiene instructions, and fluoride treatments every six months by your dentist.

Here are some remedies to help you deal with sensitive teeth:

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush as there’s lesser amount of pressure on the teeth while brushing them.

  • Use desensitizing toothpaste recommended by your dentist. This will help reducing teeth sensitivity gradually.

  • Refrain from using alcohol-based mouthwashes that are available over-the-counter, as they damage the teeth.

  • Avoid eating foods highly acidic in nature, like aerated drinks, red meats and spicy foods.

Teeth Whitening

Everyone wants a glamorous movie-star smile, and by today’s standards, the whiter your teeth, the better. Of course, we all can’t afford multiple visits to the dentist and stains do come back, making it a recurring problem.

Even with proper care, your teeth can be stained by coffee, soda, tea, medicines, and smoking. The residue of food seeps into the fine cracks of your teeth, making it nearly impossible to brush out. Whitening toothpastes only bleach out minor discolorations. The older the stain, the more difficult it is to get rid of.

Home Remedies

In most cases, cheap toothpaste doesn’t cut it. An expensive toothpaste is often needed for a brighter smile. Unfortunately, getting your teeth whitened professionally is not an option for everyone. If you want to forego the creams, bleaches, trays, and gels found in drugstores, you can take the natural approach and use any of the following home remedies for whiter teeth that are both cheap and effective.

Baking Soda:

An old-time favorite, baking soda has many purposes, including tooth whitening. Most dentists agree that it’s safe to use and works fairly quickly. You can use it alone on a damp toothbrush or mix it with toothpaste to help neutralize the salty taste.

Hydrogen Peroxide:

One of the most popular home remedies, peroxide, is cheap and most people have it on hand. Chances are, you will feel some burning in your gums, but you’ll be left with clean, whiter teeth. Typically, most people will see results within a couple of weeks but it can happen much sooner. It’s also safe to gargle, but don’t swallow.

Brush your teeth as you normally do, and then swish for about a minute. Follow up by spitting it out and rinsing thoroughly with water. Another way to use it is by dipping a cotton swap in the solution and gently rubbing it into your teeth, front and back.

Strawberries:

Not many people are aware that strawberries contain natural teeth whitening agents and the seeds work great for cleaning. Since they also contain sugar and acids, it’s important to brush immediately afterwards with a fluoride toothpaste. For easy and quick application, you can either rub the strawberry against your teeth, or mash it up and use it like toothpaste.

Wood Ash:

Strange as it may sound, hard wood ash helps whiten teeth. It contains potassium hydroxide, a compound that will bleach your teeth. The tiny crystals scrape off plague in hard to reach places and will scrub them clean. However, using wood ash often or scrubbing too hard can wear down your tooth enamel, so it’s best to avoid using it for long periods of time. To apply it to your teeth, you can put it directly on your toothbrush or mix it with a small amount of toothpaste.

Homemade tooth paste:

One of the better home recipes for whiter teeth is a paste consisting of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, table salt and a dab of toothpaste. Mix it all together and brush away stains.

More Options for Whiter Teeth

You can combine any of the above ingredients with wood ash, strawberries, hydrogen peroxide or baking soda for some extra whitening power. Always clean the ingredients off of your teeth when you’re finished by rinsing and brushing with commercial toothpaste.

Remember that teeth naturally have a yellowish tint because of calcium, an essential mineral for strong tooth enamel. Brushing too hard and using lemon juice, an acid, or any form of vitamin C will eat away the surface. Once your tooth enamel is ruined, it’s permanent. Your teeth will be considerably weaker and much more prone to cavities and sensitivity. All home remedies should be used in moderation and monitored closely.

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