What is dental sensitivity?

Dental sensitivity, commonly called tooth sensitivity, is a prevalent oral health concern characterized by sharp, transient pain in response to specific stimuli, such as cold, heat, sweets, or acidic foods and drinks.

This discomfort arises when the inner layer of the tooth, dentin, becomes exposed due to the erosion of the outer enamel layer or the recession of the gum line. The exposed dentin contains tiny channels, known as tubules, which lead to the tooth’s nerve center. When these tubules are exposed to certain stimuli, they transmit signals to the nerve, causing the sensation of pain.

What are the causes of teeth sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity arises from various causes. Understanding these can help in its management. They include;

Enamel Erosion: Caused by aggressive brushing, frequent consumption of acidic foods and beverages, or conditions like acid reflux, which bring stomach acids into the mouth.

Dental Caries (Cavities): Decay erodes tooth enamel and dentin, leading to sensitivity.

Receding Gums: This exposes the root surface, which lacks the protective enamel layer.

Gum Disease: Inflammation can lead to gum recession and bone loss, exposing tooth roots and thus causing sensitivity.

Fractured or Chipped Teeth: Breaks in teeth expose the sensitive dentin or pulp. This makes the teeth sensitive to heat and cold.

Plaque Buildup: Excessive plaque can result in sensitivity due to potential gum disease or cavities.

Dental Wear and Tear: Natural aging can lead to teeth wearing down and increased sensitivity.

Persistent sensitivity should be discussed with a dentist in Lahore to determine the cause and appropriate treatment. If left unnoticed, they can progress to some serious dental issues.

What symptoms indicate teeth sensitivity?

The following major symptoms accompany teeth sensitivity;

  • Sensitivity to extreme temperatures
  • Pain during flossing or brushing
  • Bleeding during brushing
  • Painful sensations in the teeth

Home Remedies for Teeth Sensitivity

Some of the common home remedies that can help deal with teeth sensitivity include;

1.   Clove Oil

Clove and clove oil are the most famous natural compounds that relieve dental pain. It is used for its mild anesthetic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties during tooth sensitivity.

Way to use

  • Clove oil is quite potent and can be too strong for direct application. You can dilute it by mixing a few drops of clove oil with a carrier oil like coconut oil. This also helps spread the clove oil evenly.
  • Soak a cotton ball in the diluted clove oil mixture. Squeeze out any excess oil to prevent dripping.
  • Gently apply the soaked cotton ball to the sensitive tooth or the area causing discomfort. Keep the cotton in place for a few minutes.
  • Do not swallow the oil and rinse the mouth thoroughly with lukewarm water after a few minutes.

Clove oil provides temporary relief and doesn’t address the underlying cause of tooth sensitivity. If your sensitivity is frequent or severe, it’s advisable to seek professional dental advice to determine the root cause and receive appropriate treatment.

2.   Salt water gargle

Gargling with a saltwater solution is a simple and effective home remedy to help manage teeth sensitivity. The antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties of salt can help relief the discomfort due to the sensitivity of the exposed layers of the teeth.

Way to use

  • Add a teaspoon of salt in half glass of water and stir it until completely dissolved.
  • Take a sip of the salt water solution and tilt your head back slightly. Gargle the solution in your mouth for about 30 seconds to a minute, allowing it to reach all areas of your mouth, especially the sensitive areas.
  • After gargling, spit out the salt water. Do not swallow it.
  • Rinse your mouth with plain water to remove any remaining salt taste.

Using salt water gargles as part of your oral hygiene routine can contribute to managing sensitivity and maintaining overall oral health. Practice this home remedy 2-3 times during the day.

3.   Toothpaste

Specially formulated toothpaste for sensitive teeth is designed to help alleviate discomfort caused by tooth sensitivity. These toothpastes contain ingredients that work to block the painful sensations in the teeth

Way to use:

  • Look for a toothpaste specifically for sensitive teeth. The specific pastes are often labeled as used for sensitivity or desensitizing on the packaging.
  • Use the sensitivity toothpaste just like regular toothpaste. Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time.
  • After brushing, avoid rinsing your mouth immediately. Let the toothpaste stay on your teeth for a few minutes to impart an enhanced effect.

Incorporating toothpaste into your oral care routine can minimize sensitivity and enhance dental health.

4.   Hydrogen peroxide mouthwash

Hydrogen peroxide is commonly used as an antiseptic for oral health. Diluted hydrogen peroxide mouthwash can help maintain oral hygiene and relieve teeth sensitivity. This is due to the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of this chemical solution.

Way to use

  • Mix 1 part of 3% hydrogen peroxide solution and 1 part of water to make a dilute solution.
  • Take a mouthful of this solution. Keep it in your mouth for 30 seconds to a minute. Avoid swallowing the mixture.
  • Spit the mixture out and avoid swallowing it.
  • Rinse your mouth to remove the taste of the solution

5.   Turmeric Massage

Turmeric is a natural analgesic and is used as a most effective home remedy for sensitive teeth. It is made into a paste and is applied on the teeth where it imparts anti inflammatory and analgesic effects.

Way to use

  • Mix half teaspoon turmeric powder with water to create a paste.
  • Apply the turmeric paste to the sensitive areas of your teeth and gums using clean fingers. You can also use a soft toothbrush for application.
  • Using very light pressure to massage the paste onto the sensitive areas for about a minute. Avoid vigorous brushing or massaging.
  • Let the paste on your teeth for a few minutes. Avoid accidental swallowing by preventing talk during this time.
  • Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water to remove the turmeric residue.

While using these natural remedies for teeth sensitivity can provide temporary relief, they are not a substitute for medical advice. Talk to a best dentist for the diagnosis of the cause that is leading to teeth sensitivity.