Ouch! Sensitive Teeth? 5 Dental Health Tips to protect your teeth from cold.
It’s a beautiful crisp morning, you step out into the day, take your first deep breath – and Ouch! The cold sends your teeth into a state of shock. You visit your favourite Ice-cream purveyor, you’re anticipating your first bite, but gosh! The cold sets your teeth on edge… familiar?
If cold air, hot, cold, sweet, or acidic food and drink cause pain or sensitivity to a tooth or teeth, even if the condition comes and goes, you may have sensitive teeth. Some of the reasons tooth sensitivity can occur are; the enamel that protects our teeth becomes thin or worn, or gum recession occurs, exposing the dentin, which reduces the protection the enamel and gums provide to the tooth and root.
Sensitivity is a common ailment that in most cases can be readily alleviated.
Let’s look at the causes:
- Enamel is the hardest substance in the body and covers the exposed portion of your tooth to the gum line. In your daily oral maintenance, over-brushing, brushing too hard or with a strong bristled brush may be causing undue wear and tear on your tooth enamel.
- Gum recession can be another reason for teeth to be sensitive. The roots of your teeth are not coated with enamel the way the exposed portion of the teeth are, so if your gum is beginning to recede the more sensitive dentine may be exposed. The microscopic dentinal tubules transmit the temperatures of the foods that we eat straight to the nerves of the tooth, causing the ‘Ouch’ that goes with that ice-cream.
- If you grind your teeth, you may be wearing away your tooth enamel or you may even have caused a tooth to crack, which again exposes the dentine, causing you pain.
- A loose or lost filling, or a compromised restoration, dental decay, a cavity or an exposed root can also be the reason for pain or sensitivity to cold.
Some Dental Health Tips to protect teeth from cold:
- If your teeth are feeling sensitive, it’s best to keep up your optimal oral hygiene routine; brush regularly and gently but firmly (not hard) using a soft bristle brush – and perhaps consider a sensitive formula toothpaste. Brush gently along your gum-line with a soft brush to avoid brushing away your gums (imagine you’re brushing a tomato and you don’t want to break the skin) and don’t forget the floss! Brushing gums will loosen any debris that gets caught between the tooth and the gum, and it will stimulate blood flow to the gums keeping them pink and healthy.
- Fluoride treatment available from your Dental Practitioner will help to strengthen enamel. Fluoride works by strengthening the enamel and dentin, which in turn will help to reduce any sensitivity. Check with your Dental Practitioner before using a fluoride treatment.
- Eat well. Eat a balanced diet – in a perfect world, pick meals and snacks from the following food groups: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean beef, skinless poultry and fish, dry beans and peas, fat-free or low-fat dairy products. Limit snacks. Follow a diet low in acid – a diet low in acidic foods and drinks can help prevent tooth sensitivity.
- Drink plenty of water (2 litres) every day. Remember that hydration is imperative all year round, not just in summer, to keep brain, body and teeth healthy and in great condition. Good water intake will ensure that your gums and teeth are moist. By drinking enough water, you will produce more saliva, which is important in colder months when saliva is more prone to dry up, without enough saliva bacteria tends to build up in our mouths, with not happy consequences!
- Still sensitive to cold? Now is the time to book an appointment with your Dental Practitioner. Your dentist will be able to assess whether you have compromised a restoration, cracked a tooth, if it is worn enamel that is your issue, or whatever else may be happening for you, and pinpoint what exactly is causing your sensitivity. Your dentist will be able to assess your individual needs and formulate a plan to remedy the cause in your case. More involved treatment may include dental work that restores and protects the exposed root or lost tooth structure. Your dentist will recommend the best treatment which may include referrals to other dental specialists. Your dentist will discuss your options with you in these cases.
If you experience sensitive teeth and are concerned about keeping them clean and healthy, please contact us on (02) 9389 3656 or complete the enquiry form on our Contact Us page.
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