Caring For Your Tooth Enamel
Healthy teeth have a hard, protective layer that shields your teeth from irritants. But without proper oral care, the enamel on your teeth can wear down.
When you don’t have enamel to protect your teeth, you expose their nerve endings. One of the reasons your teeth may be sensitive is because your enamel has worn away.
Enamel can regenerate, but you have to allow it to rebuild. The best way to do that? Take extra good care of your teeth. Even if your teeth sensitivity has nothing to do with your enamel, it’s still essential to take care of your enamel just in case.
Let’s review some of the ways you can keep your enamel strong.
Take It Easy When Brushing
It seems like it should be an obvious fact that the harder you brush, the cleaner your teeth will be. The issue is that overzealous brushing can wear your enamel down faster.
You want to brush firmly enough to remove plaque, and it’s best to brush at a 45-degree angle from your gum line. Even though it’s often what we’re taught to do as kids, side-to-side brushing is known to strip down enamel as well as plaque.
If it’s time for a new toothbrush, be sure to get one with soft bristles. If you’re using an electric toothbrush, don’t apply extra force or motion—just hold the toothbrush at an angle and let the bristles do the rest.
Limit Enamel-Attacking Food and Beverages
Here’s the bad news: sugary treats, acidic foods, sticky candy, soda, and high-sugar carbs will break down your enamel faster. We’re not going to tell you not to indulge every now and then, but when you do have something that isn’t super great for your teeth, spend a bit of extra time brushing and flossing that night.
Here’s the good news: cheese, milk, plain yogurt, and high-fiber fruits and veggies are all delicious foods that protect your enamel. These snacks activate your salivary glands to help fight acid and bacteria that damage your enamel. So yes, it’s essential to keep some dairy in your diet.
If you’re looking for a pro-enamel drink substitution, unsweetened green or black teas are great. When you do reach for a Coke, though, don’t feel like you have to brush right away. Give your mouth some time to clean itself before you get in there with your toothbrush.
Unclench Your Jaw
If you have a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD or TMJ), then you carry a lot of tension in your jaw. Jaw tension often leads to Bruxism, AKA teeth grinding, which can wear down your enamel.
Sometimes, simply reducing stress and recognizing when you’re clenching your jaw can help you reduce the tension you feel. But investing in a custom nightguard can keep you from grinding your teeth in your sleep.
Break Up with Bleaching
If your teeth started feeling sensitive after you began using bleach to whiten your teeth, then it’s time to look for a better way to make your smile shine.
Bleaching has been the norm for teeth whitening treatments, but the harsh chemicals can do your teeth more dental harm than cosmetic good. Instead, get a whitening treatment that doesn’t involve harsh chemicals so you can get gorgeously white teeth without the sensitivity.
If Your Enamel Isn’t Causing Sensitivity
Sometimes, the issue isn’t with your enamel. That doesn’t mean to stop taking care of your enamel; it just means that it’s time to go see your dentist.
Here are some of the other causes of tooth sensitivity:
Naturally Shrinking Gums
Your gums may start to pull away from your teeth and expose your roots as you get older. Since the roots don’t have enamel to protect them, they’re more sensitive than the tops of your teeth.
If you’re over 40 and your teeth are feeling sensitive, schedule an appointment with your dentist to see if your gum line is receding. In severe cases, your dentist may recommend a gum graft to move tissue to cover the exposed areas.
If you’re under 40 or not taking good care of your teeth at any age, you may develop gum disease. When plaque and tartar build up on your teeth, your gums may pull back from your teeth, and bacteria can get in the pockets.
Since gum disease can expose the roots of your teeth, your teeth may become sensitive. The best thing you can do to prevent gum disease is to stay on top of your oral hygiene routine and see your dentist ASAP for a nice deep cleaning.
Getting gum disease is nothing to be ashamed of, as most adults develop it at some point in their lives. However, it’s essential to nip gum disease in the bud before it becomes irreversible.
Sometimes, you chomp on something hard, and you crack your tooth without realizing it. In some cases, the crack can go all the way down to your root. When your tooth cracks, the exposure makes your tooth hurt, especially when it’s cold.
If you have a cracked tooth, you need to schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately. If the crack is above your gum line, your dentist can fill it. However, if the break goes below your gum line, the tooth will have to be removed. It’s best to see your dentist before the crack can get any worse.
Treating Sensitive Teeth
Once you understand what’s causing your sensitive teeth, you can explore options to keep your teeth from causing you pain in the future.
Some preventative steps you can take to avoid sensitive teeth include:
- Using toothpaste for sensitive teeth
- Applying fluoride gel or desensitizing pastes
- Talking to your dentist about fillings or sealants
- Wearing a mouthguard to protect your teeth from grinding
- Making lifestyle changes to help your teeth like quitting smoking and eating healthier
If you’re looking for a custom nightguard to protect your enamel without breaking the bank, get Cheeky.