Natural remedies for sensitive teeth can help you enjoy the occasional sweet treat, icy drink, or other foods and beverages that make your mouth twinge. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), enamel loss, periodontal disease, and tooth decay can result in sensitivity. If you have dental pain, extreme sensitivity, or other severe oral symptoms, contact your dentist ASAP.
But if you already have a sensitivity diagnosis or your dentist has already ruled out potentially serious issues, here's how to treat sensitive teeth with a few simple changes to your oral care routine.
1. Avoid Acids
The pearly outer coating of your teeth does more than make your smile shine. This hard, white exterior layer—a.k.a. enamel—acts as a protective shell on each tooth. Think of enamel as the jacket of your teeth. Without it, cold, heat, sweets, and anything else in your mouth can get in.
Acidic foods and drinks can wear away enamel and cause dental erosion, according to the Journal of the American Dental Association. This exposes the underlying dentin and can lead to sensitivity. While you can't replace worn enamel, you can prevent its loss.
The ADA notes that some of the top culprits behind acidic erosion include citrus fruits, powdered fruit drinks, sports drinks, tomatoes, and sour candies.
2. Change How You Brush
Are you an over-brusher? Along with acidic foods, vigorous brushing can also contribute to enamel erosion and tooth sensitivity.
While it might seem like a toothbrush swap from stiff bristles to softer ones could cut down on erosion, this trick won't always work. A study in the journal PLOS ONE found that soft-bristled toothbrush use had a greater impact on dentin loss in teeth with abrasion than other types of bristles. Likewise, a study published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology (JISP) found an increase in abrasion with soft-bristled toothbrush use.
If switching to a soft-bristled brush may actually worsen abrasion or erosion, what can you do to decrease your brushing-related sensitivity? Along with the type of bristles used, the JISP study also looked at the force of brushing. Researchers found that increased force equaled an increase in abrasion. This may have meaning for people with sensitive teeth who also over-brush.
Instead of going to town on your teeth, try a gentle hand. While you still need to remove plaque and leftover food debris, you don't need to scrub away the outer layer of your teeth. A lighter touch when brushing won't reverse dental erosion, but it can reduce the chances of abrasion—and this can lower the likelihood you'll experience sensitivity.
3. Use a Natural Sensitive Toothpaste
Not all toothpaste products are created equally. Your dental routine could play a role in tooth sensitivity. Like over-brushing, an overly abrasive toothpaste can contribute to dental erosion and sensitivity, according to the Victoria State Government.
If you're wondering which type of toothpaste is right for your sensitive smile, you might want to consider a sensitive toothpaste made with naturally derived ingredients. This may provide relief by sealing the pathways to sensitive tooth nerves to help block the pain.
Like other natural remedies for sensitive teeth, switching your toothpaste won't reverse dental erosion. Significant erosion or dental abrasion requires a dentist's attention. If your teeth have pits, valleys in the middle, or you can see the yellowish dentin layer of your teeth, it's time for a dental checkup.
4. Wear a Mouthguard
Do you grind your teeth? A sore jaw, unexplained headaches, and worn or cracked teeth are signs of bruxism. According to the ADA, bruxism, or grinding your teeth, can wear down enamel and contribute to tooth sensitivity.
There's no cure for bruxism. But there are several ways to treat this condition and reduce the risks of dental sensitivity. Stress-reduction therapies such as visualization and meditation can help you to relax, unclench, and stop grinding. If these methods aren't successful or you need extra help, a mouthguard can help to minimize the effects. The less you grind your teeth, the less likely it is you'll wear away the enamel. This can minimize future erosion and the resulting sensitivity.
Tooth sensitivity isn't the only reason to try natural personal care products. From body wash to deodorant, find new ideas on the @tomsofmaine Naturally Good Products Pinterest board.
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Why It's Good
Sensitive teeth don't have to make you twinge and cringe. You can find relief from dental discomfort with natural remedies for sensitive teeth. From dental routine changes to a new toothpaste product with naturally derived ingredients, you have options.