CORRECTIVE MEASURES YOU CAN DO AT HOME | BY DR. SHOHREH SHARIF
Dr. Shohreh Sharif
Tooth or gum sensitivity is one of the most common ailments that Americans struggle with. There has been an increased number of Americans who report that they suffer from tooth/ gum sensitivity on an annual basis. Oftentimes, these people are willing to make a trip to the dentist just to eliminate this sensitivity and resolve their issue. However, there are a handful of simple measures that you can take at home to prevent tooth sensitivity and avoid making another trip to the dentist. The purpose of this article is to teach you about the basic makeup of our teeth, and to give you the tools you need to keep your tooth sensitivity away.
Our teeth are made up of three primary components: enamel, dentin, and pulp. Enamel covers the majority of the tooth and protects it from food, liquid and heat. Dentin sits underneath the enamel and is a more porous material that makes up the majority of the tooth. Dentin is full of microscopic tubules and canals that connect it to the last, and innermost part of the tooth, the pulp.
Pulp is at the very core of the tooth and its job is to help supply nutrient-rich blood that the tooth uses to repair itself. All three of these components are vital to a healthy tooth and they must be protected to keep tooth sensitivity away.
Dr. Shohreh Sharif has been practicing dentistry for 25 year. She is:
Assistant Professor, Howard University College of Dentistry
Diplomate, American Board of Pediatric Dentistry
Diplomate, American Orthodontic Society
IAD Top Pediatric Dentist among Leading Physicians of the World
Fellow, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
In order to keep the tooth sensitivity away, here are a few simple things that you can do at home:
- Brush, with a soft bristle brush, twice a day for at least two minutes each time.
- Keep in mind-brushing too enthusiastically can damage the teeth and gums.
- Ask your dentist about the type of mouthwash you should use.
- Avoid drinking sugary, acidic drinks such as soda or lemonade. If you can, use a straw to minimize contact with teeth.
- Avoid snacking on Ice-while calorie free, it is very bad for your teeth and can crack them.
- Work on ways to relieve stress-teeth grinding is a common side effect of stress and damages tooth enamel.
- Do not overuse whitening strips or bleaching gels-the harsh chemicals can lead to sensitivity.
For many, taking these few simple measures can help keep the majority of tooth sensitivity at bay. However, sometimes, tooth sensitivity can persist. If it does, it may be time to consider making a trip to the dentist. A proper exam will lead to a better understanding of what is causing your tooth sensitivity, and how it can be eliminated.
Your dentist may recommend desensitizing toothpastes to try at home. You may be using a mouthwash
that is very acidic causing irritation. Switching products may help alleviate the issue. There may be dental decay. A small cavity can lead to exposure of the inner layers of your tooth and cause sensitivity. Repairing the cavity will protect the tooth and help reduce sensitivity. Whatever the treatment may be the goal is always promoting strong oral health and to have you feeling confident about your smile.
The author wishes to thank the American Dental Association (ADA) and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) for information and guidelines on treating dental sensitivity.