Caring for Sensitive Teeth and Gums

(Family Features) Whether you're taking a sip of your hot morning coffee, or having a bite of a delicious ice cream sundae, nothing is more irritating than having to refrain from savoring your guilty pleasure due to a shooting pain in your teeth. This sensation - known as tooth sensitivity - is triggered by hot, cold, sweet or sour foods and drinks, or by breathing in cold air. The pain can be sharp and sudden, and shoot deep into the nerve endings of your teeth.

The discomfort you're feeling is an indication that the dentin in your teeth is exposed. When the dentin loses its protective covering, heat, cold and acidic or sticky foods stimulate the nerves and cells inside the tooth, causing hypersensitivity and discomfort.

The sensation felt in these circumstances is uncomfortable, however once you understand what causes the sensitivity; there are simple ways to ease the pain.

What causes tooth sensitivity?
* Brushing too hard - Over time, brushing too strenuously or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can wear down enamel and cause the dentin to be exposed.
* Recession of the gums - When the gums move away from a tooth and the root surface becomes exposed, teeth become more sensitive.
* Teeth and tooth enamel - Cavities and fractured teeth can cause sensitivity, as can worn down tooth enamel and cracked teeth.
* Teeth whitening products - Teeth whitening products can be major contributors to sensitive teeth.
* Plaque - Teeth become more susceptible to sensitivity when plaque is present on the root surfaces.
* Acidic foods and beverages - Regular consumption of foods with a high acid content, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, pickles, and tea, can cause enamel erosion. Sports drinks, energy drinks and colas can also cause a higher risk of cavities and erosion to those who consume them due to their acidity and sugar content.

What are some solutions?
* Maintain oral hygiene - Proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing the pain associated with sensitive teeth and receding gums. Follow proper brushing and flossing techniques to thoroughly clean all parts of your teeth and mouth.
* Use a sensitive toothbrush - ARM & HAMMER TM Spinbrush TM Pro Sensitive is the first battery-powered toothbrush specifically designed for sensitive teeth and gums. Exclusive "Soft Flex Bristles" are longer and more flexible to access hard to reach areas for a thorough clean and the "Gum Guard" is a specially designed motor for a gentler clean. The Pro Sensitive toothbrush provides a great option for sensitive teeth and gums, at a sensible price.
* Use a sensitive toothpaste - ARM & HAMMER TM Sensitive Toothpaste helps reduce painful tooth sensitivity and is 40 percent more gentle to exposed roots versus a leading sensitive whitening toothpaste. It is clinically proven safe and effective to use every day for a clean, white, healthy smile.

Adopting good oral hygiene habits and selecting products that can help prevent the pain associated with tooth sensitivity, will allow you to indulge in that cup of coffee or ice cream sundae without discomfort in your teeth or gums. Learn more about products to help with sensitivity at and

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Source: Arm & Hammer, Arm & Hammer Spinbrush


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