If you felt a tinge of pain in your mouth the last time you enjoyed a hot or cold beverage, you probably have sensitive teeth. This sensitivity occurs when there is a breakdown in your tooth enamel that exposes your tooth’s dentin. Caused by the build-up of plaque or poor dental hygiene habits, sensitive teeth can be a painful nuisance but are easily treated. Read on, to learn everything you need to know about preventing and treating sensitive teeth.

1. Switch to a Soft Brush

Yes, sensitive teeth are often the result of an irregular brushing routine, but tooth sensitivity can also be caused by over-brushing. You may be surprised to learn that your sensitive teeth could be the result of brushing too harshly. One of the reasons many dentists recommend a soft bristle brush is that both medium and hard bristles can scrape away the enamel on your teeth over time. Switch to a soft brush and brush gently (and consistently!) to help your enamel recover.

2. Cut Back on Acidic Foods and Beverages

If your diet has a high acidic content, you could be wreaking havoc on your mouth with every sip or bite. While there are obvious culprits to avoid such as soft drinks, there are also a few surprising foods you may want to limit. For instance, fruits (especially citrus) contain low pH levels, indicating high levels of acidity. The best way to ensure highly acidic foods do not damage your teeth is to brush immediately after consumption.

3. Chew Sugar-Free Gum

The idea of chewing something while your teeth are feeling sensitive might seem a bit counterproductive, but the truth is that your saliva will help you in this situation. Chew on a piece of sugar-free gum to encourage saliva production throughout your mouth. Saliva can help cleanse your teeth of irritants, and even harden your tooth enamel! Just be sure that the gum is completely sugar-free, or you might be doing more harm than good.

4. Avoid Over-the-Counter Whitening Solutions

Everyone likes the idea of a perfect smile, but if you regularly use over-the-counter whitening products, your sensitivity is very likely linked. The chemicals used in whitening products might be affecting the nerves in your mouth, causing the sensitive feeling. If you’re after that perfect smile, consider consulting your dentist for professional options that will whiten your teeth with little to no sensitivity.

5. Consult Your Dentist About Special Care Products

There are lots of over-the-counter options available if you’re in search of relief. However, finding the right product may require the expertise of your dentist. Ask your dentist to recommend rinses, mouthwashes, or toothpaste designed specifically for sensitive teeth. Toothpaste for sensitivity usually contains potassium nitrate which can help calm the nerves in your mouth, while mouthwash designed for sensitivity is usually alcohol-free and contains fluoride.

Your teeth may also be sensitive if you grind them while you sleep. Though you have no control over this function while sleeping, your dentist should be able to supply you with a mouthguard to provide nighttime protection.

Sensitive teeth can ruin an otherwise wonderful beverage or meal. They can make you irritable and leave you in constant pain, even preventing you from falling asleep at night. If you are experiencing pain while eating or drinking, contact your dentist and take a closer look at your daily oral care routine. Simple changes can do wonders when treating sensitive teeth. Here’s the recap: Switch to a soft bristle brush and brush gently. Avoid foods high in acidic content and ask your dentist about the benefits of toothpaste with potassium nitrate. Do you have questions? Reach out to your local dentist or schedule an appointment with Simply Beautiful Smiles today!