Do you pass on the ice cream or wince after a sip of boiling hot tea? If so, you could be suffering from tooth sensitivity like 1 in 8 people do all year round.
The cause of this sensitivity is when the tooth's enamel surface is worn down and the sensitive 'dentine' is exposed. Dentine consists of minute tubules which run to the nerve of the tooth causing that lightening sensitivity! Ouch!
So what might be contributing to tooth wear and how can we prevent and treat this problem...?
TOOTH BRUSHING- If you are a bit heavy handed with the toothbrush, you may be wearing away your enamel by over brushing. Many electric toothbrushes these days have a pressure sensor to let you know when you're doing damage, so investing in one of these maybe a good idea. If you use a manual toothbrush, try switching hands. Your less dominant hand will naturally be weaker so you'll avoid applying too much pressure.
ACIDIC FOOD AND DRINK- Acidic fruits, fizzy drinks and sugary foods can all contribute to erosion on the teeth. Reduce acid attacks on the teeth by enjoying these things at meal times. It is also important to remember to wait at least an hour before brushing after meals. This is to avoid brushing teeth in their weakened state from acidic foods and drink.
TOOTH GRINDING- You may or may not be aware that you grind your teeth. If you do then you could be wearing your teeth away. Teeth can be built up again and often, a bite guard is a good option to prevent damage to the teeth.
BROKEN OR DECAYED TEETH – If you are suffering with sensitivity from a certain tooth, it is always best to get it checked with your dentist. The sooner the tooth can be treated, often the easier that treatment will be.
It is always worth discussing your tooth sensitivity with your dentist or hygienist so treatment can be advised accordingly. In the meantime, one of the best things you can do at home is use a de-sensitizing toothpaste.
* Sensodyne and Colgate Pro-Relief are two excellent toothpastes that deal with tooth sensitivity. However, the most important thing to realise about these toothpastes is that they work as a treatment, and not as a cure.
* One of the ways de-sensitizing toothpaste works is by plugging the tubules in the dentine so that pain is not transmitted to the nerve. Therefore if you stop using the toothpaste, your sensitivity is likely to return.
*They can be used in place of your normal toothpaste and they can also be rubbed in like an ointment to very sensitive areas.