If you have sensitive teeth, you may wonder if there is anything you can do at home to help relieve some of the discomfort, as well as decrease the amount of damage done to your teeth's enamel. If so, use the following tips to help take care of your sensitive teeth.
1. Switch to a Soft-Bristled Toothbrush
One way you can minimize the damage to your enamel and help keep from causing yourself more pain is to take a look at your toothbrush. If you are using a hard- or even medium-bristled brush, the harder bristles will scrape at the surface of your teeth, removing small bits of enamel and worsening your sensitivity.
Using a medium- to hard-bristled brush does not necessarily get your teeth any cleaner. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush while applying gentle pressure is enough to thoroughly clean your teeth without causing further damage to your enamel.
However, there may be some days that your teeth are extremely sensitive, especially if you have been grinding your teeth or eating excessively acidic foods. On these days, just use your fingertip instead of a toothbrush.
2. Give Your Desensitizing Toothpaste Time to Work
Whether you buy it over the counter or are prescribed one by your dentist, you probably use a desensitizing toothpaste to help relieve some of your discomfort. However, if you spit it out of your mouth and rinse immediately after brushing your teeth, it may not be as effective as it could be.
The longer you keep the toothpaste on your sensitive teeth, the more relief it can give you. Instead of rinsing immediately, try to leave the toothpaste in your mouth for a minute or two to give the ingredients time to penetrate the enamel and desensitize your teeth.
3. Use a Straw When Drinking Acidic or Sweet Liquids
While you may enjoy drinking coffee, wine, fruit juices, or other acidic and sweet fluids, you may not enjoy the impact they have on your teeth. While drinking any of the beverages, your teeth may ache as the liquids coat your enamel. Not only do these drinks cause inflammation of your teeth, but they also eat away at your enamel, making your teeth even more sensitive.
If you simply cannot go without your morning coffee or evening glass of wine, or if you cannot imagine breakfast without a big glass of orange juice, consider changing the way you drink these beverages. Instead of drinking straight from a cup or glass, use a straw. The straw will enable you to direct the liquid to the back of your mouth, minimizing contact with your teeth.
4. Brush Your Teeth After Eating Certain Foods
Liquids are not the only things you will ingest that contain a lot of acids and sugars. Any foods that you eat containing these ingredients can wreak havoc on your teeth enamel. If you regularly enjoy eating desserts or savoring a big bowl of pasta with marinara sauce, these items can and will cause you more discomfort and damage to your enamel, especially if they remain on the surface of your teeth.
To keep these foods from continuing to eat away at your enamel, always brush your teeth afterward. However, do not brush them immediately, as doing so will only grind the acids and sugars deeper into the surface.
Instead, rinse your mouth with water right after eating, then wait about half an hour to brush your teeth. This time frame gives your mouth's saliva a chance to break down some of these substances so that they can be removed more thoroughly, without causing trauma to your already sensitive enamel.
Using the above tips when you have sensitive teeth can help reduce further damage to your teeth's enamel and bring you some relief from your symptoms. Speak with your dentist if you continue to have discomfort or to get personalized advice on how to treat and cope with your sensitive teeth.