Your two-minute guide to sensitive teeth

Dr Peta Leigh - ellevenWe all feel a hot or cold sensation in our mouths when eating an ice cream or hot soup, but for people who suffer with teeth sensitivity, the pain can be uncomfortable enough to put them off eating ice cream for life – unthinkable!

Recent news reports reveal that tooth sensitivity is on the rise, and this is something that Dr Peta Leigh, here at elleven, has seen first-hand: ‘Tooth sensitivity is definitely increasing within the population. There are a number of factors which can be blamed for this increase, including an upsurge in acidic food and drinks in diets, gum recession, or over / incorrect brushing wearing away the enamel.’

Sensitivity prevention

So how do we prevent and treat the uncomfortable and painful sensitivity many of us experience? Here, Dr Peta Leigh shares some surprising information about the cause of sensitive teeth and how we can prevent it in our everyday lifestyle, without needing to book that emergency appointment at the dentist!

1. Choose a good toothpaste – Tooth sensitivity is largely caused when enamel becomes thinner over time. Without the tooth’s protective enamel layer, small holes within the dentine that lead straight to the tooth’s nerve become exposed, leading to pain and sensitivity. Once the dentine has become exposed, using specialist toothpastes that are formulated to treat the pain of sensitive teeth, can help minimise the symptoms. Products such as Sensodyne’s Repair & Protect toothpaste can provide daily protection against the pain of tooth sensitivity, while fluoride helps to strengthen and rebuild the enamel.

2. Avoid over brushing – Over brushing can wear away enamel, causing our teeth to become more sensitive to temperature. When brushing your teeth, thoroughness is essential but make sure that this does not stray into aggressive scrubbing territory!

  • Use a soft brush – preferably one designed for sensitive teeth
  • Move the toothbrush in a circular motion; do not ‘saw’ back and forth
  • If you’re squashing the bristles it is a sign you’re brushing too hard.

3. Don’t brush a sensitive tooth aside – Tooth decay and cracked teeth are all factors that can lead to sensitive teeth. Although it may seem obvious to visit the dentist as soon as you notice a slightly unusual tooth, it is easy enough to forget about the problem in the already busy day you had planned. However, it is important to remember that a small dental problem will turn into a bigger one if it isn’t sorted promptly and the longer the tooth is left untreated, the worse the problem will get!

4. Tell your dentist about your sensitivity when you have other treatments – It is important to establish the cause of tooth sensitivity prior to tooth whitening (or other treatments) but having sensitive teeth does not preclude you from whitening treatment. Sensitive teeth may benefit from pre-treatment with remineralising products or the in-house whitening procedure which incorporates nano-hydroxyapatite (nHAp) to reduce sensitivity.

If you have any questions or would like to book a consultation, please call us on 0207 487 2711, or email info@ellevendental.com

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