This is the second in a 2 part series on tooth (or dentin) sensitivity.
HOW CAN I AVOID DENTIN HYPERSENSITIVITY?
Excessive consumption of acidic beverages, such as orange juice or cola, can wear down hard enamel and put you at risk for dentin hypersensitivity. Limiting your consumption of acidic foods and beverages can prevent the erosion of hard enamel. Conditions such as bulimia nervosa and acid reflux also can have similar erosive effects on tooth enamel. Abrasion of the enamel from aggressive use of a toothbrush also can lead to dentin hypersensitivity. Notify your dentist if you experience tooth sensitivity. He or she can monitor the condition and can help remedy the sensitivity.
I HAVE DENTIN HYPERSENSITIVITY. WHAT CAN I DO TO PREVENT PAIN?
Using a soft-bristled toothbrush and brushing in a circular motion will minimize enamel abrasion and thus reduce sensitivity. Using toothpaste containing a desensitizing agent that protects exposed dentin by blocking the tubes connected to nerves to nerves can alleviate pain. In-office treatments, such as topical agents or sealants, can be applied by a dentist to help reduce sensitivity. Of course, limiting your intake of acidic foods and beverages is always recommended.
WHAT OTHER ISSUE MIGHT BE ASSOCIATED WITH DENTIN HYPERSENSITIVITY?
Research suggests that sensitivity in the mouth may be associated with sensitivity in other areas. Individuals with dentin hypersensitivity can show sensitivities in other areas such as sight, hearing, taste, smell or touch. Sight sensitivity, specifically to sunlight, is the most common association. Recently, I learned of a product from Colgate that does an amazing job of decreasing sensitivity. It is only available in the States at present. Stay tuned as it will be coming to Canada in the new year!