What to Do for Sensitive Teeth

Post Date: September 2018  |  Category: Oral Care Senior Health

Grandfather and grandson enjoying ice cream cones

Your dentist or Rite Aid Pharmacist can help you combat tooth sensitivity

Maybe you've incorporated a regenerative lotion into your routine to diminish fine lines or even started taking a multivitamin to support joint health, but you might be showing your age somewhere else. If you cringe at the thought of biting into an ice cream cone or sipping hot coffee, you might be suffering from sensitive teeth. As you age, the protective enamel on your teeth can wear thin, thanks to years of crunchy foods and acidic drinks.

Understanding what to do for sensitive teeth is the first step toward a more comfortable mouth, and the solutions can be as simple as swapping out dental products. Don't let sensitive teeth show your age—try these tips to manage pain and prevent it from disrupting your day.

Why Now?

Even if you've never experienced tooth sensitivity, the chance of that "ouch!" feeling when you eat hot or cold foods increases as you age. In fact, after you turn sixty-five you're three times more likely to suffer tooth damage requiring repair. After decades of wear and tear, it's normal for your teeth to begin to need a little extra care.

Teeth are made up of a layer of hard enamel that covers a thinner layer of dentin, a nerve-packed substance that protects the tender pulp in your teeth. As you age—through no fault of your own—enamel gradually wears away and exposes that dentin. The pain you feel when eating cold foods or biting down on something hard means your enamel has worn away to the point that your dentin is taking the hit.

Preventing Sensitive Teeth

If you're just starting to notice sensitive teeth, there are a few ways to address it. You might not be able to turn back time, but you can slow the clock and help fortify weak enamel for stronger teeth and less pain.

  • Regular use of a desensitizing toothpaste can help to reduce pain. Products like this contain potassium nitrate, an ingredient shown to actually stop overactive nerves from sending pain signals to your brain.
  • Skip acidic foods. Your morning glass of OJ or a bite of fresh pineapple could be causing excess wear on your teeth. Choose low-acid versions of your favorite products or eat foods that are less acidic to help preserve your enamel.
  • Cleanliness is important, but a hard-bristled brush or excessive brushing can actually damage your enamel. Use a soft touch and a softer brush to get the job done without the sensitivity.

Treating Sensitivity

If you've noticed sensitivity getting worse over time and normal prevention methods aren't helping, it's time to schedule a visit with your dentist. They can examine the extent of enamel damage and help to address the specific problem. Worn enamel doesn't have to mean a lifetime of avoiding ice cream—your dentist can use brush-on sealants, fluoride rinses, and even filling material to help fortify your teeth.

Sensitive teeth might present you with some new obstacles, but you shouldn't have to avoid your favorite foods forever. Stop wondering what to do for sensitive teeth and start addressing the problem. By using the right oral care products, you can help to slow the damage for more youthful teeth and a restored smile.

By Jae Curtis

Sources:

Harvard Health, The aging mouth - and how to keep it younger

Cleveland Clinic, Teeth Sensitivity: Care and Treatment

American Dental Association, Top 9 Foods That Damage Your Teeth

Colgate, Tooth Sensitivity


These articles are not a substitute for medical advice, and are not intended to treat or cure any disease. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid, or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of scientific literature may vary. Consult your healthcare professional before making changes to your diet, exercise, or medication regime.