Sensitive teeth can be a real pain. We mean that! Eating or drinking something too hot, too cold, or even too sweet can cause the teeth and gums to ache, sometimes severely. It makes eating and drinking very unpleasant. Why do people have sensitive teeth? What makes your teeth sensitive? What can you do to fix your sensitive teeth?
Beavers & Broomfield Family Dentistry has treated many patients with sensitive teeth. There are many reasons why teeth may be sensitive, with the most common reason being a lack of good oral hygiene. If your teeth are temporarily sensitive, there are ways you can relieve that sensitivity at home, including changing to a sensitivity toothpaste. With all the options out there, which one is best? We can guide you through the reasons for tooth sensitivity and what to look for when buying toothpaste to alleviate your pain.
Why Are My Teeth Sensitive?
Tooth sensitivity is caused by the thinning of the enamel on your teeth. Enamel is the hard, protective outer shell of your tooth. When it thins, it allows hot, cold, bitter, or sweet to affect the nerves within the tooth.
Often, tooth sensitivity is caused by tooth decay from poor oral hygiene. Not brushing and flossing regularly allows bacteria to build up on your teeth and attack your enamel, weakening it. The best way to combat sensitive teeth is by brushing and flossing regularly. Other factors could be involved, from genetics to certain medications. If you have tooth sensitivity, talk to us. We’ll help you figure out the cause and find the best solution.
Should I Use Sensitive Toothpaste?
You’ve probably noticed there are dozens of brands and types of toothpaste on the market. Normally, the main thing to look for is fluoride, which strengthens your enamel and reduces your chances of tooth decay. But what if you have sensitive teeth? Several types and brands of toothpaste exist for sensitive teeth. What is the best toothpaste for sensitive teeth? What should you look for when choosing sensitive toothpaste?
Sensitive toothpaste contains special ingredients that strengthen your enamel while soothing the nerves in your dentin to reduce your pain and ease the reactions to hot, cold, sweet, or bitter. The more you use it, the better it works. Some patients report relief fairly quickly, while others said it works better after a couple of weeks of use.
Best Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth?
There are several types of sensitive toothpaste available with these key ingredients that fight tooth sensitivity. Two of the most commonly used ingredients are potassium nitrate and stannous fluoride. Arginine and calcium carbonate are also found in sensitive toothpaste.
Stannous Fluoride vs. Potassium Nitrate
Potassium nitrate toothpaste, such as the Sensodyne toothpaste brands, offers a great option as toothpaste for sensitive gums and teeth. Toothpaste with potassium nitrate works to block the pain receptors in your dentin (inner portion of your tooth), so you feel less pain. The regular fluoride in the toothpaste works to build your enamel at the same time, reducing your overall sensitivity.
Stannous Fluoride is found in toothpaste such as the Colgate sensitivity line. Stannous fluoride works to build a strong layer of protection against the acids that degrade your enamel. It’s a stronger version of fluoride designed to reduce the tooth’s sensitivity.
So potassium nitrate vs stannous fluoride? Ideally, you want to find a toothpaste that has both active ingredients so it addresses both problems – reducing pain and strengthening your teeth. The best thing to do is check the label to find what toothpaste might be best for you.
Arginine and Calcium Carbonate
Newer formulas of sensitive toothpaste often contain arginine or an arginine-calcium carbonate blend. Arginine has been found to reduce tooth sensitivity while protecting the tooth from acid. Brands like Tom’s of Maine toothpaste have embraced this formula in the last few years, particularly for toothpaste made to help patients with extremely painful or extremely sensitive teeth.
One of the appeals of arginine-calcium carbonate toothpaste is that the formula is made from all-natural ingredients. Arginine is an amino acid in plants that is broken down in water and treated with carbon dioxide gas to produce the arginine-calcium carbonate mixture. If you prefer all-natural ingredients, this may be the better option for you.
How Else Can I Treat My Sensitive Teeth?
Using sensitive toothpaste can help treat the discomfort in your teeth, but there are other things you can do to improve tooth sensitivity. Start by using a soft-bristled toothbrush. A softer brush will be less harsh on your enamel and your gums, and it will give you some sensitivity relief when you brush. Pull back on using toothpaste that will whiten your teeth. This can make your teeth more sensitive, too.
Avoid certain foods and drinks until your tooth sensitivity is back under control. Try not to eat or drink foods that are too hot or too cold, like ice cream. That may mean waiting a bit for your morning coffee to cool or skipping the ice in your ice water. Keep in mind this should just be temporary, as short as a couple of weeks. Be careful not to eat foods that are too sweet (such as frosting) or too bitter (such as citrus fruits). These can also irritate your teeth. Let your teeth heal before indulging in your favorites at temperatures you’re used to enjoying.
Finally, talk to your dentist. At Beavers & Broomfield Family Dentistry, we can offer suggestions and treatments that could help your sensitive teeth. Our restorative dentistry services include treatment for soft enamel that rebuilds your tooth’s protective shell and makes your teeth stronger and less sensitive. We can also recommend the best toothpaste for sensitive teeth and gums for you. If you’re in Fayetteville, AR, schedule an appointment with us about your sensitive teeth. We’ll help you find the right solution.
Sensitive Teeth Relief in Fayetteville, AR
Sensitive teeth can take the enjoyment out of dinners out with friends, coffee in the café, or just the enjoyment of your favorite foods. There are ways to ease the pain of your sensitive teeth, including using sensitivity toothpaste. Whichever one you choose, it’s important to brush at least twice a day for two minutes at a time, making sure you cover every surface of your tooth and your gums. Be sure to floss at least once a day before you brush. Don’t eat or drink for at least half an hour after you brush, so the fluoride in the toothpaste has time to work properly. This not only helps your tooth sensitivity and gum health but also prevents bleeding gums, a symptom of gum disease.
If you continue to experience problems with sensitive teeth, contact Beavers & Broomfield Family Dentistry. We’ll give you a thorough examination and help you figure out why your teeth are sensitive and what you can do to stop, including recommending a prescription toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Remember, you don’t have to live with the pain of sensitive teeth.