More than half of the population have sensitive teeth but this doesn’t mean you have to endure the discomfort from time to time. After all it can be really distracting especially during a meeting, a date or other significant event.
The discomfort is often triggered by heat or cold although sweet and acidic food and drinks could have the same effect. The root cause is that the enamel and/or gums that are supposed to give the teeth’s root surfaces protection are compromised or have worn out. Gum recession exposes the root surfaces as well as when enamel gets eroded due to acidic foods, poor oral hygiene, brushing too aggressively or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).
Can I do something about my sensitive teeth?
Notice that the causes of sensitive teeth (eroded enamel, gum recession) appear to be irreversible or somewhat permanent. As a result, many people think that they can’t do anything about their sensitive teeth. In addition, the pain or discomfort is irregular or occasional so often it doesn’t require an urgent action. With too many worries and because of today’s busy schedule, oral health and dealing with sensitive teeth doesn’t often get prioritised.
However, discomfort or pain from sensitive teeth can make it hard for you to focus on the present moment especially during important social occasions. It can ruin your experience and even affect the quality of your life. The fear of getting the pain can make you avoid certain foods and drinks as well as face some friends and acquaintances. And often, the pain gets there during the most crucial moments such as during an interview, meeting or business presentation. It can be stressful at times, which is why it’s important to deal with sensitive teeth as soon as possible and once and for all.
Good thing is that there are ways to make your teeth less sensitive. For instance, your dentist might recommend less abrasive toothpaste you can use every day. This way much of your enamel (the thing that protects the root surfaces of your teeth) will stay intact. Aside from keeping the enamel intact, the less abrasive toothpaste can also help control the damage and prevent the root surfaces from getting more exposed. In other words, it can maintain your teeth’s integrity for the long term and at the same time help make your teeth less sensitive.
Less abrasive toothpaste with fluoride can also provide extra protection against tooth decay. Notice that there’s a cascading effect here if we deal with sensitive teeth once and for all. That’s because making our teeth less sensitive also means protecting our teeth upfront and for the long term. Tooth decay will be very occasional or really delayed because of this small action of dealing with sensitive teeth. This also raises our awareness about our oral health because we will know more about how to take care of our teeth. This then also helps prevent costly (and painful) procedures down the road.
Lifestyle changes for better oral health
Prevention is always better than cure but time flies fast and due to our busy schedule it could be difficult to pay attention to our oral health. There are many competing demands and we don’t have much time to deal with everything.
However, neglecting our oral health and ignoring sensitive teeth can be very costly and painful down the road. Root canal and tooth extraction might be needed later on which are both expensive and time consuming. In addition, a tooth problem is not often alone and often comes with other problems such as gum disease and tooth decay. It’s true that sensitive teeth can cause you discomfort but when it comes to tooth decay and gum disease which are more serious, it goes beyond discomfort because of the stress and pain.
As a result, lifestyle changes could be a lot better than resorting to treatment and expensive procedures. It can simply start with changing how you brush your teeth (e.g. use a soft-bristled toothbrush and apply gentle strokes). Together with using less abrasive toothpaste, this simple lifestyle change can go beyond making your teeth less sensitive but also make your teeth healthier and stronger.
Another significant lifestyle change is about the food and beverages you consume. Take note that hot and cold foods and drinks can trigger the discomfort and pain so it’s best to avoid them as much as possible or stay away from them during an important event. It’s also mentioned earlier that sweet and acidic foods can also trigger sensitive teeth. To avoid the pain and discomfort it’s also good to stay away from them. Interestingly, avoiding sweet and acidic foods can also be good for your overall health.
Caring for your oral health often has a huge positive effect to your overall well being (e.g. oral health and heart disease are connected). In addition, an excellent oral health also brings confidence and focus. Instead of worrying about your teeth and gums, you could better focus on the task at hand and pay attention to the bigger things in life. This can also make it easier for you to feel confident because your teeth are in top condition and you can better smile and talk with people.