Author: James Goolnik BDS MSc Category: Health, Dental

Tooth sensitivity is one of the most frequent dental problems, with many people having suffered from sensitive teeth at some time or another

Your teeth can be irritated by hot, cold or sweet foods and drinks.  Often it is because you have over brushed; causing the gum to shrink slightly, exposing the root surface of your tooth.  This is not used to being exposed to the mouth and the small holes or tubules in the root are very sensitive.

To combat sensitivity;

  1. Decrease the intake of acid-containing foods such as orange juice. If you do have them rinse with water or chew sugar free gum afterwards.
  2. Avoid using hard bristled toothbrushes and brushing your teeth too hard, which can wear down the tooth’s root surface and expose sensitive spots. There are many ways to clean your teeth which don’t involve brushing hard. Remember, the goal of teeth cleaning is to remove all the plaque and bacteria without damaging the teeth and gums. Please ask your dental hygienist on the best way to brush your teeth.
  3. Use a desensitising toothpaste.  They have two modes of action depending on the type.  The first action is to help to block the open pores in the root surface of your teeth.  The second works on the nerve endings inside the tooth and reducing their excitability.  This toothpaste needs to be used regularly for 1-2 weeks before the effect is seen.  Some patients complain when they return to normal toothpaste the sensitive can return.  It is fine to use a fluoride containing sensitive toothpaste as your regular toothpaste.
  4. Get your dentist to apply resin sealants, Fluoride and other desensitising filling materials.  These can protect the teeth from further damage.  They can become sensitive again if you over brush again.

Often teeth are sensitive if you have an acidic diet or a cavity.  If sensitivity does not go away after two weeks, consult your dentist to see if there is another cause such as a cavity.

James Goolnik is a dentist and founder of the award winning Bow Lane Dental Group which is in London.  James Goolnik recently published his book “Brush”. 100% of the profits go to Dentaid to support access to oral health for the underserved populations. He is a trustee of the charity “Heart your Smile” aimed at getting more people to visit their dentist.

To ask James a question click here

Bow Lane Dental

Check out our article on the Philips Diamond Clean Sonicare Toothbrush perfect for sensitive teeth