How to deal with sensitive teeth


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Millions of Americans have sensitive teeth and many are afraid to go to the dentist, who is the best person to advise them about how combat existing sensitivity and possibly overcome it.

"Many people don't like going to the dentist and often times put off problems whether they are having pain and discomfort and they don't get it treated because they don't want to go. But that is going to lead to bigger problems that are harder to treat," warned Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List.

5 Common Causes of Sensitive Teeth:

  • Brushing too hard. 
  • Eating foods or drinking fluids that contain acid or cause acid reflux. 
  • Grinding or clenching teeth.
  • Dental work to repair cavities. 
  • Teeth whitening.

  • If you're one of those who likes to use over the counter teeth whitening products, dentist Dr. Rob Gausmann says you're probably okay as long as your products are approved by the American Dental Association. But stop chomping on that ice!

    6 Remedies

  • Minimize the amount of time the teeth are exposed to acidic drinks; don't swish soda and other acid fluids; drink with a straw.
  • Rinse with water after eating acidic foods to reduce the amount of acid on the enamel.
  • Chew sugarless gum to stimulate saliva, which will naturally neutralize the acid.
  • Don't brush right away after eating. Brushing right away will increase the destructive nature of acid.
  • Use fluoride to help replace missing enamel minerals.
  • Wear your night guard if the dentist recommends one. It can give you some relief and help save your enamel. You can purchase them over the counter or get one from your dentist.

  • What about those toothpastes designed specifically for sensitive teeth? Experts tell Angie's List that toothpaste, rinses or trays that contain fluoride are good ideas because they'll help strengthen teeth, which reduces sensitivity.

    Tips to help dental anxiety

  • Talk to your dentist – If you've had a bad experience before be open and explain your concerns to your dentist. They may be able to change your whole dental outlook.
  • Arrive early – Don't rush into your appointment. Get there early so you can relax your body and take a few deep breaths a few minutes before your appointment.
  • Do something you enjoy – Some dentist offices now offer TV's to watch or music to listen to. If you are really worried ask about one of these.