5 Habits that Lead to Sensitive Teeth

Friday August 16, 2013 by
Melissa Brown, DDS

Does the mere thought of biting into an ice cream cone send shivers down your spine? Does drinking a hot cup of coffee cause you more pain than pleasure? If so, there’s a good chance that you have tooth sensitivity. There’s not a lot that is more annoying than worrying about what you are going to eat or drink, worried that it might cause pain. Check out some easy steps you can take to help guard yourself from this common dental problem:

Cut back on the mouthwash.

While we understand that fresh breath is important, using mouthwash to excess (several times a day) can increase sensitivity. This is due to the acid that is found in some mouthwashes. At your next appointment, you may want to discuss the different mouthwash options with your dentist.

Brush gently to fight plaque.

It’s not uncommon for people to vigorously attack the plaque with hard, overzealous brushing. We have a tendency to think that harder scrubbing means a healthier smile. Relax… Hard brushing can wear down your tooth enamel, irritate your gums, and make your teeth more sensitive. Instead, we recommend softly brushing your teeth 2-3 times a day for at least 2 minutes per brushing.

Rethink the whiteners.

Having a bright-white smile is a priority for most people these days, and there are many products on the market designed to whiten teeth. However, the peroxide found in most whiteners is an irritant that can increase sensitivity. Look for whiteners with a low level of peroxide (6-10%) to minimize tooth pain. Additionally, when you come in for your next appointment, we encourage you to ask us about Teeth Whitening .

Cut back on acidic foods.

We recommend that you start paying attention to the labels of the foods and beverages you commonly consume. Orange juices, wines and sodas contain high acidic concentrations that serve to wear down the enamel of your teeth, leaving them susceptible to pain and sensitivity. Even healthy foods like berries and citric fruits can wear down the strength of your teeth. The key is to always consume in moderation, paying careful attention to what makes up your favorite foods and drinks.

Quit Grinding.

Bruxism—or teeth grinding—is another cause of tooth sensitivity. And while you may not be able to prevent it entirely on your own, minimizing stress helps. Additionally, you can wear a mouth guard at night to minimize tooth damage—ask our office for details.

Perhaps most importantly, if you’ve been experiencing prolonged tooth sensitivity, Request an Appointment . Dr. Brown has many options at her disposal—from fluoride gel to bonding and more—to minimize your discomfort. Modern dentistry means that there is no longer a need to tough out tooth pain!