How to Deal with Sensitive Teeth

Posted at 5:30 AM, Feb 03, 2015
and last updated 2016-07-04 12:04:19-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) --  Sensitive teeth can make enjoying your favorite food and drinks a real pain.  In this Angie's List report, we learn about common causes of teeth sensitivity and ways you can combat the problem.

A lot of people who have sensitive teeth think they just have to live with it, but there are ways to control -and maybe even eliminate - the pain.  It may, however, first involve a visit with someone they've also been avoiding.

"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," said Angie Hicks of Angie's List.

Sensitive tooth pain is mainly because of problems enamel on the teeth. It's the thickest part of a tooth and the first line of defense against sensitivity.

"There's many different things that can damage the enamel. One of the most common one is many of the items that we drink. There's soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, different types of wine, and the reason those are challenging to enamel, is they are full of acid," said Dr. Rob Gausmann, DDS.

Some vegetables and fruits contain acids, as do sour candies. Jawbreakers and nuts don't have acids but they're hard and can crack the enamel. Chewing ice, grinding or clenching your teeth? That's just asking for trouble.

Fillings that fix cavities will sometimes allow cold to be transmitted to the nerves below, and some teeth whitening products that penetrate the tooth to remove stain will cause sensitivity.

Another problem? You may be brushing your teeth wrong.

"Some folks really like to get their teeth clean and they scrub along there. You get your teeth clean, but the problem is you can actual damage your teeth when you do that. You can wear away tooth structure and you can actually wear away some of the gum tissue along there. Well if you wear away tooth structure we are making it thinner and you get more cold transmitting to the nerve for more cold sensitivity and then the gum tissue actually protects the tooth a little bit to. So if you wear that away it exposes more of that tooth that's thinner and more cold sensitivity with it," explains Dr. Gausmann.

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.

If you're one of those who likes to use over the counter teeth whitening products, Dr. Gausmann says you're probably OK as long as your products are approved by the American Dental Association.

Remember you can catch the latest Angie's List report every Tuesday morning on WTXL Sunrise.