I have sensitive teeth - what can I do?
One in three adults experience sensitive teeth – but you don’t have to be one of them. While some thinning of the tooth enamel and some gum recession are inevitable with age, sensitivity is not. The following guidelines are designed to help you avoid many of the problems that can lead to sensitive teeth.
The good news is that effective treatment is available for the pain of sensitive teeth and the early gum disease that is often the underlying causes.
You can take action to end the pain and help stop gum disease in its tracks by:
asking your dentist to assess the problem and give you advice/treatment
using sensitive toothpastes everyday as you regular toothpaste
How can I prevent my teeth from becoming sensitive
Do remember that the tissues in your mouth (even enamel when it becomes thin) are easily damaged so treat them gently
Do brush your teeth before meals, to gain the most protective benefit from your toothpastes
Do rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking anything that contains sugar or acid
Do use a soft toothbrush with a small head and rounded bristles
Do use a low-abrasivity toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.
Do use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste
Do discuss your diet with your dentist
Do use sensitive toothpaste for at least 3 weeks before any professional or DIY tooth whitening program
Do visit your dentist regularly and seek prompt treatment and advice
Don’t brush too hard along the gum line, or floss too vigorously as you may damage the gums or wear grooves in your enamel
Don’t pick at your gums when using toothpicks as the gums are easily damaged
Don’t brush your teeth immediately after meals (especially if your meal has included any acidic food or drinks) as brushing when the mouth is in a ph acidic state can lead to increased enamel loss – always wait at least 30 minutes
Don’t eat sugary or acid snacks between meals, or use an acidic mouthwash (<pH5), as having the mouth in prolonged states of acidity increases the possibility of damage to the enamel
Don’t use too much toothpaste – you get the required therapy benefits from the recommended amount
Don’t use a hard toothbrush as it may lead to excessive enamel wear
Don’t use a high-abrasivity toothpaste as this may lead to excessive enamel wear
Don’t allow sensitivity to determine what you eat. Correct management will allow you to eat all foods
Don’t begin any dental whitening program without first discussing it with your dentist. Sensitivity can be one of the side effects of whitening treatment kits
Don’t leave fractured or chipped teeth unrepaired, or allow yourself to clench or grind your teeth, any exposed dentine as a result of trauma may become sensitive