Do you find it hard to eat ice cream, enjoy a cup of coffee, or even brush your teeth because of the pain you experience when you do these things? You may be experiencing tooth sensitivity, a common condition that affects millions of people all around the world.
There are dozens of toothpaste formulas available that claim to help people with sensitive teeth. The idea that it could be so easy to treat this painful condition may sound too good to be true, but is it really? Let’s take a closer look at sensitive toothpastes and determine what their real impact is on your teeth.
Do Sensitive Toothpastes Work?
According to science, yes, sensitive toothpastes do help to reduce the unpleasant sensations in your teeth.
A 2012 study published in Stomatologija (a scientific journal focusing on oral medicine) reviewed all of the available evidence on the rationale behind different toothpaste classifications, including sensitive toothpaste. The researchers found that while toothpastes with analgesic ingredients like potassium nitrate were not very effective at reducing sensitivity, ingredients that block the dentinal tubules in your teeth work much better.
Why Block Dentinal Tubules?
Most tooth sensitivity is actually dentin sensitivity – pain or discomfort that originates in the middle layer of the tooth, the dentin. Dentin is usually protected by a thick coat of enamel, but when your gums recede or your enamel is worn away, that inner dentin becomes exposed.
The problem with this is that dentin is full of tiny holes called dentinal tubules. These tubules run through the dentin layer straight to the pulp chamber, which is the innermost part of your tooth. Tooth pulp is extremely sensitive to hot, cold, and sweet stimuli. The limited exposure it gets through exposed dentinal tubules is often enough to cause noticeable pain.
Fortunately, there are several toothpaste ingredients that can help form a protective layer over exposed dentinal tubules and block them off. These include:
- Calcium sodium phosphosilicate
- Arginine and calcium carbonate
- Stannous fluoride
Any toothpaste formula for sensitive teeth that contains at least one of these ingredients will reduce tooth sensitivity for most people.
How to Reduce Sensitivity in Your Teeth
It’s great to know that sensitive toothpaste works, but what specific steps can you take to minimize the pain you feel in your teeth? Here are some tips to help you get your teeth back to normal sensitivity levels.
- Brush twice a day with a toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth. Sensodyne is the most common option available, but most brands have something like it.
- Smear a little extra sensitive paste directly on the areas where your sensitivity is the worst. This gives your teeth more exposure to the active ingredients and helps them work their magic.
- See your dentist to rule out any underlying problems that might be causing your tooth sensitivity, such as untreated tooth decay.
- Ask your dentist about more permanent tooth sensitivity solutions, such as dental bonding.
Get Rid of Tooth Sensitivity for Good
Using sensitive toothpaste is a great step toward a life free of tooth twinges, but remember that tooth pain can be caused by other issues too. If you are having problems with sensitive teeth, it may be a good idea to get a cleaning and exam at Coscarella Dentistry.
Our staff will rule out any other potential problems during your visit and advise you about what other options are available to treat dental sensitivity if your toothpaste fails you. Contact us today to book an appointment; we’ll be waiting for you.