Tooth Sensitivity: Causes & Cures

Tooth sensitivity is the sensation (or in the worse case, pain) that one feels while eating/drinking something hot, cold or acidic.

Healthy tooth Vs. Sensitive tooth

Healthy tooth Vs. Sensitive tooth (Image Source: gsk)

As you can see in the figure, in the healthy tooth (left hand side), the dentin of the tooth (the layer that surrounds the nerve) is covered by the enamel and the gum. While in the sensitive tooth (right hand side), the dentine of the tooth is exposed to environment either because of receding gum line or loss of enamel and causes sensation or tooth sensitivity.

There are various factors that can lead to sensitivity of the tooth:

* Receding gums due to age, improper brushing techniques or any gum disease.
* Fractured tooth that can lead to dentine exposure.
* Plague in the mouth.
* Using various teeth whitening products, many of them contains peroxide which can lead to teeth sensitivity.
* Using hard toothbrush, brushing incorrectly or brushing more than thrice a day that can cause thinning or loss of enamel.

How to prevent tooth sensitivity:

* NEVER use hard bristled toothbrush, it can lead to enamel loss or erosion.
* NEVER brush aggressively. ALWAYS brush gently with soft hand. Here is Colgate teaches you how to brush correctly – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzXRehGBEOg
* AVOID brushing just after tea/coffee etc as at that time enamel is in its weak form and can be eroded easily.
* DON’T brush more than twice a day, you don’t need to. Go the Indian way, gargle with water after every meal.
* MAKE the habit of gently massaging the gums with index finger towards the tooth (downward for the upper teeth and upward for the lower teeth) after brushing your teeth. It helps in preventing the gums from receding.

Some home remedies for curing sensitivity:

* Take 1 tbsp of mustard oil and mix it well with 1 tsp of salt (preferably rock salt). Apply on your teeth, massage for 5 minutes and then leave it for another 5 minutes before rinsing it off with water.
* In a glass of lukewarm water, add 2 tsp of salt and rinse your mouth with this salt-water solution twice a day.

If you still can’t find any relief, visit a dentist!

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