When you drink something particularly hot or cold, or eat something particularly sweet or acidic, do you experience discomfort or pain in your teeth? If you do suffer from tooth sensitivity like this, you’re not alone. One study indicates that as many as one in eight adults experiences tooth sensitivity.
Treating Tooth Sensitivity at Home
Tooth sensitivity can keep you from enjoying your favorite foods and drinks, and can create discomfort in your day-to-day life. If you’re looking for an easy way to treat tooth sensitivity at home, you have a few options:
- Salt water rinse — Salt water is popularly recommended as the easiest way to relieve discomfort in the mouth at home. Your dentist may even recommend it after a procedure like an extraction. Not only does it inhibit bacteria in the mouth, but it also promotes healing.
- Clove oil — Clove oil contains a numbing agent that can provide temporary pain relief and combat inflammation. Just remember that it doesn’t taste great, and it’s not healthy to consume. Try applying the oil to a cotton ball or cotton swab and gently applying it to the tooth for relief.
- Toothpaste for sensitive teeth — If you suffer from consistent sensitivity, you may consider picking up a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. That way, you’re treating your tooth sensitivity twice a day.
Of course, these treatments may be able to help deal with the discomfort associated with tooth sensitivity, but they won’t address the root of the problem. There’s a reason your teeth are sensitive, and ignoring that reason could lead to worsening dental problems down the line.
Don’t Ignore the Cause
Why are your teeth sensitive? There are a few potential reasons why you may be experiencing this problem. Perhaps your enamel has been worn down by acidic food and drink, aggressive toothbrushing, or a toothbrush with too-stiff bristles. If your enamel has been damaged, your teeth will feel more sensitive, plus you’ll be more susceptible to decay.
Another possible reason for tooth sensitivity is the repeated clenching or grinding of the teeth, known as bruxism. High stress levels can lead to bruxism, as can a bad bite creating tension in the jaw. You might even be experiencing sleep bruxism, where you clench or grind your teeth in your sleep. Cavities can also create tooth sensitivity, as can loose or misapplied dental restorations like fillings or crowns.
While a salt water rinse or the right toothpaste can help you get through tooth sensitivity day to day, the most important thing is that you identify the source of the discomfort and correct it. Otherwise, sensitivity could grow into a more dangerous oral health problem. Not sure why your teeth are so sensitive? Your dentist can offer up some suggestions after your next checkup, as well as recommend solutions.