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Managing Dental Sensitivity

For some, even the image of ice cream conjures up the feeling of a cold sharp shock to the teeth. But, it's the last of the dog days of Summer and, well, with the hot temperatures outside, even we're screaming for ice cream.

Unfortunately, about 1/8th of the adult population experience dental sensitivity (according to WebMD). This could be due to:

* Damaged enamel,

* Root exposure,

* Consuming a lot of acidic foods (like lemon),

amongst other possible reasons.

So here are our top tips (in no particular order) on how to reduce dental sensitivity so that you can actually *enjoy* cool treats.

1) Use toothpaste for sensitive teeth. People differ in terms of their sensitivity to pain, so you could be one of those 'lucky' individuals who are more susceptible to feeling sensations when having cold foods. Do the research to find the best brand for you - or physically test each of them out for a certain period of time. They do require regular use, so effects won't be immediate, but their ingredients are said to be gentler on your dentition and some even desensitize the pain. At our offices, we carry high-fluoride toothpastes like ClinPro 3000 and Fluoridex, which can help to reduce dental sensitivity.

2) Avoid biting into ice. Not only is it cold (obviously), but chewing on ice can damage your teeth - which would lead to greater sensitivity in the long run.

3) In the case of ice cream, try licking it instead of eating it from a spoon or worse, biting into it. This limits the cold exposure to your tongue instead of your teeth.

4) Try drinking cold/iced beverages slowly and through a straw (a reusable straw, if you're concerned about the environmental impact) so (like tip #3), it bypasses direct contact to your teeth. As a side note, this will also prevent brain freeze :D.

5) Brush with light strokes and only use soft bristled toothbrushes. Many people brush far too aggressively and it can actually wear away their teeth and gums prematurely - and it's even worse when they use hard bristles. At ALFIE dentistry, we always promote gentle brushing, but doing a thorough job (two minutes, twice a day, every day - please - NOT 'serious scrubbing for half an hour right before your dental appointment'!)

6) Reduce consumption of acidic foods because there is such a thing as acid wear on teeth. This can thin your enamel and cause greater dental sensitivity. If you must eat/drink acidic things, remember to rinse your mouth out with water.

7) Get screened for dental problems like decay and dental grinding because those can be contributing to your sensitivity. Once an issue is detected, get it fixed with restoratives and in the case of clenching/grinding - get a nightguard.

8) If you're whitening your teeth (either with at-home trays or in-office), you may feel more sensitive after each treatment and the most commonly cited recommendation in this case is to just wait it out. Like with pretty much everything, moderation is key - so don't overdo it with these treatments.

9) Sometimes after dental treatment, your teeth can be sensitive afterward because the area was essentially disturbed. Even routine hygiene visits can lead to sensitivity because we also clean underneath the gum line. In most cases, this type of sensitivity will wear off in a few weeks. If the teeth are uncomfortable on biting (that is, not to cold), you might need an adjustment on the tooth, so don't be afraid to give our concierge a call.

10) Stay regular with your dental appointments. While it may be tempting to postpone your routine cleaning and check ups, that could mean postponing the detection of dental issues. If that's the case, your condition can worsen during that time and lead to greater dental sensitivity - or worse, full-blown pain. Having a professional keep an eye on the health of your teeth can also mean that we can make recommendations customized to you.

Call our office today: (416) 226-6688 so that we can help you manage your dental sensitivity.


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