1 out of 3 Indians Suffer From Tooth Sensitivity But Don't Treat It: Myths And Tips
Here's all you need to know about tooth sensitivity.
This is your perfect guide for tooth sensitivity
- Tooth sensitivity is a common dental problem that can develop over time
- Brushing is not only good on teeth, but also on your gums and tongue
- Brush twice for at least two minutes daily, don't brush too hard
Most people suffering from tooth sensitivity choose to ignore the sensitivity symptoms. But why give up your life's simple delights when you can lead a sensitivity-free life by just changing some daily oral care habits. In today's scenario in India, 1 in 3 adults suffer from tooth sensitivity, which is an alarming 34%. But, only 1 in 5 address the problem.
Tooth sensitivity is a common dental problem that can develop over time, as a result of receding gums and enamel wear. It begins to develop when the softer, inner part of the tooth called 'dentine' becomes exposed. Dentine lies under the enamel and the gums. Thousands of microscopic channels run through the dentine towards the centre of the tooth. Once the dentine is exposed, external triggers (such as a cold drink or ice cream) can stimulate the nerves inside the tooth, resulting in the characteristic short, sharp sensation of tooth sensitivity.
With so much stress and anxiety built up around tooth sensitivity, it's not surprising that we have made up several myths about it over the years. Sometimes we choose to believe these myths rather than find out the truth. So, let's bust a few myths around tooth sensitivity:
Myth 1: Cavities cause tooth sensitivity.
Fact: Though it is true but not all the time. Tooth decay causes sensitivity, but one may also experience sensation without it. Tooth sensitivity primarily occurs when the enamel of the tooth gradually wears away, exposing softer tissue called dentine.
Myth 2: Only cold sugary food causes sensitivity.
Fact: When exposed dentine comes into contact with anything hot, cold, sweet, or sour, it can trigger the nerves and cause a short sharp sensation.
Myth 3: Tooth sensitivity is temporary.
Fact: The sensitivity may come and go, but if left untreated, it can get in the way of your everyday life.
Myth 4: Brushing right after meals is good.
Fact: Brushing is not only good on teeth, but also on your gums and tongue. But after eating or drinking, your teeth's outer layers are temporarily softened. Brushing your teeth immediately after rubs these acids into the enamel, breaking them down and exacerbating the sensitivity. It is recommended to wait at least half an hour before brushing to let your saliva naturally neutralize the acids.
Myth 5: There is no solution for sensitive teeth.
Fact: Sensitive teeth can and should be taken care of. Depending on the cause of sensitivity, dentist may recommend special desensitizing toothpaste or alternative ways to relieve sensitivity .
A report put together by Oral Health Foundation states some shocking facts around oral care habits. It states that only one in four adults admit they don't brush twice a day, including a third of men; One in ten admit they regularly forget to brush their teeth; 42% of adults use just a toothbrush and toothpaste for their oral care; One in three people have NEVER flossed their teeth. Keeping this in mind I am sharing some quick and easy tips to maintain good oral hygiene and health for all age groups.
- Tips on how to maintain good oral health
- Brush twice for at least two minutes' daily. Don't brush too hard or too often
- Floss regularly
- Use a mouth wash
- Chew sugar free gum
- Clean your tongue
- Wash food down with water or milk
- Eat crunchy vegetables
- Prevent teeth grinding
- Avoid acidic foods and drinks
If you are feeling a similar discomfort, especially if it persists, the best measure you can take is to visit your dentist to seek professional advice on the most suitable oral care routine for you and the best tooth brushing technique (how often and when). Once diagnosed, switching your basic toothpaste to the one that is formulated especially for sensitive teeth will help provide greater relief. Needless to say, incorporating good habits into your daily oral health routine can go a long way.
(Dr. Ajay Kakar is a Dentist, Periodontist and Implantologist)