Take this quiz to learn everything you want to know about preventing and treating sensitive teeth -- so you can smile BIG.
Sensitivity isn't caused by aging; it is found in adults age 25 to 30 more than in any other age group.
Sugarless gum helps teeth by increasing saliva production; saliva contains teeth-strengthening minerals.
Over-the-counter mouthwashes often contain acid, which erodes tooth enamel. Ask your dentist about non-acidic or prescription mouthwashes.
Sensitivity clears up in weeks to months, with proper care. Identifying and treating the cause can restore your teeth to full strength.
Fillings weaken over time. They can crack, fall out or wear away. Ask your dentist about restoring old fillings in sensitive teeth.
Use straws and brush after eating to keep acidic foods and drinks from sitting on your enamel for long periods.
The strongest material in your body, tooth enamel is meant to last with proper care. Brush twice daily for two to three minutes and floss.
When enamel erodes, these holes in dentin let cold, hot, and sweet sensations leak directly onto your nerve, causing discomfort.
Grinding is a major cause of enamel erosion. Your dentist can recommend a mouth guard to prevent grinding.
Basic chemicals neutralize acidic ones. Try drinking milk right after soda, for instance, if you can't brush right away.
Hard brushing weakens enamel. Use soft-bristled or pressure-sensitive, electric brushes. Brush gently for several minutes, rather than vigorously for a few seconds.
Rinse with fluoride daily to desensitize teeth. If they're super-sensitive, ask your dentist about coating your teeth in a stronger fluoride varnish.
Toothpastes with potassium nitrate or strontium chloride harden saliva's minerals into a protective shield over your teeth, similar to enamel.
Brushing vigorously forces gumlines to recede, exposing roots. Apply pressure gently to let gums heal.
Receded gumlines expose root nerves directly to food. Eroded enamel exposes dentin, a pocketed material which seeps food to nerves.
Even the worst cases of sensitivity are treatable by dental procedure. Bonding agents can seal badly receded gums, and high-powered varnishes and rubs can shield dentin.
Old, fraying bristles can damage enamel fast. Replace your brush every three to four months and look out for fraying.
Whitening chemicals such as bleach increase tooth sensitivity. Consult your dentist about the safest whitening options.
Getting crowns, cleanings, or restorational or root work sometimes leaves your teeth sensitive weeks afterward. Your dentist should indicate how long you can expect the sensitivity to last.
Exposed nerves interpret hot and cold temperature as pain or discomfort. Eat and drink lukewarm meals until sensitivity clears up to avoid constant nerve irritation.