Home Remedies for Sensitive Teeth

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When you feel like passing on ice cream or avoiding hot tea because of your teeth, you are experiencing an issue that affects 45 million adults in the United States. Hypersensitivity arises when you feel discomfort in a tooth (or teeth) after eating cold or hot foods and liquids. Sometimes, even breathing cold air can trigger pain. Luckily, there are some home remedies for sensitive teeth to consider before you make an appointment with the dentist.

Causes of Sensitive Teeth

The visible part of our teeth is covered by a layer of enamel that protects the softer dentine found underneath. Enamel is the strongest substance in the body, which covers the crowns of healthy teeth [1], but over time, it can wear down. If the dentine becomes exposed, the tooth displays a level of sensitivity. You start to feel pain where the tooth and the gum meet – it is here that the enamel layer is much thinner. There are many things that can cause sensitive teeth, including:

• Brushing too hard with your toothbrush
• Dental erosion – loss of tooth enamel from acidic foods and drinks
• Receding gums
• Gum disease
• Grinding your teeth
• A cracked tooth or filling
• Temporary sensitivity associated with tooth bleaching

Sensitive Teeth Home Remedies

Tooth issues are no fun, especially when they keep you from eating some of your favorite foods. When you have to pass on that ice cream sundae or say ‘no’ to ice in your drink, things are getting a little out of hand and you need to get control of the situation. Home remedies for sensitive teeth will help you deal with the pain and show you ways on how to avoid it. Suggestions include:

a) Avoid Foods with Acid:

The acid found in some foods and drinks can erode the enamel, which exposes the nerves of your teeth. This can worsen your sensitivities to hot and cold substances. Foods to watch out for include tomatoes, citrus fruits, and many soft drinks.

b) Diet Soda Habits:

If you drink diet soft drinks several times a day, you can worsen the sensitivity of your teeth.

c) Choice of Toothpaste:

When you have sensitive teeth, you may want to avoid tartar control toothpastes, which is known to actually cause teeth sensitivity.

d) Warm Water:

To reduce your risk of suffering pain due to sensitive teeth, brush with warm water.

e) Straw:

Using a straw when drinking cold or sugary beverages (such as iced coffee and cold water) will reduce the pain you feel when you have sensitive teeth.

f) Floss:

Regular flossing after brushing helps to remove materials that could cause your teeth to become irritated. Floss is able to reach the food particles that the toothbrush can easily overlook.

g) Pop a Pill:

To relieve the discomfort of tooth sensitivity following a visit to the dentist, you may need to take an ibuprofen.

h) Q-Tip:

If it hurts too much to brush your teeth, you can put toothpaste on your finger or a cotton swab so that you can spread it over the sensitive spots of your teeth before you go to bed. Spit out the toothpaste, but do not rinse. Your teeth should start to feel less sensitive.

i) Regular Brushing:

You should brush your teeth at least twice per day to remove the plaque that forms on your tooth. This white gummy substance produces an acid that causes tooth irritation. It is best if you brush your teeth right after eating and before going to bed.

j) Soft Toothbrush:

Hard bristles on a toothbrush can damage the protective tooth enamel, which can lead to teeth sensitivities – especially when the gum line recedes and dentin becomes exposed. Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles and apply only a small amount of pressure when brushing.

k) Say ‘No’ to Tobacco:

If you chew tobacco products, the gums eventually recede with heavy use. You are at a higher risk to experiencing gum sensitivity and decay.

l) Curb Hard Candy Habits:

If you like to suck on hard candy, keep in mind that your habit can cause enamel abrasion and tooth sensitivity.

m) Temperature Watch:

Avoid extremes in temperature when you have sensitive teeth – extremely hot or extremely cold foods and drinks. Your chances of suffering more damage increases when you eat one right after the other. Hot foods cause the enamel on your teeth to expand, while the cold foods cause contraction. The quick expansion and contraction may cause cracks and fractures in your teeth. To make matters worse, your nerves could become exposed which can intensify your sensitivity.

n) Be Careful with Orange Juice:

If you like drinking orange juice in the morning, you may want to wait at least one hour before brushing your teeth. The acid in this popular beverage weakens enamel. You need to give your saliva time to remineralize the enamel. If you must brush your teeth, only use water.


[2] Five Minute Fixes by Reader’s Digest; pg. 364.