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All Posts in Category: Health Basics

Woman experiencing tooth sensitivity

Dealing with Tooth Sensitivity

The main cause of tooth sensitivity is fluid movement within the small tubes of the dentin, which is the layer of tissue beneath the top layer of enamel. The result of this movement in the dentin is nerve irritation/tooth sensitivity. Exposure of the dentin tubes is the result of worn down enamel, leaving the tooth more susceptible to the temperature changes of consuming cold and hot food and drink. Consuming acid-containing foods and drink wear down enamel as does acid reflux and bulimia that expose the teeth to stomach acids. Tooth sensitivity is a common condition that at least 40 million adults experience at some time, but thankfully, there are various ways to treat and reduce tooth sensitivity.

Simple treatments for tooth sensitivity

Patients with sensitive teeth may want to rethink their choice of toothpaste, as some contain abrasive ingredients. Whitening toothpaste and tartar-control kinds of toothpaste also contain ingredients that can increase tooth sensitivity. Switching to desensitizing toothpaste can help if there’s no other dental issue causing the discomfort, but it can take a month of regular use for them to alleviate pain. Dentists can treat sensitive teeth with dental sealants or fluoride and recommend reducing the number of foods that contain acid. Changing to a soft bristle brush and not brushing as hard can reduce sensitivity as hard bristles and brushing can wear down enamel and expose sensitive dentin.

Visiting the dentist

When a tooth or teeth become highly sensitive for several days and causes discomfort when exposed to hot and cold foods, it’s time to visit the dentist to find out what’s going on. Anyone experiencing tooth sensitivity should consult with their dentist first before trying treatments on their own, as they may not be effective in addressing the problem. Abscesses or cavities patients can’t see yet, but that a dentist can find during an exam, can cause tooth sensitivity.

Describing symptoms to the dentist

Tooth sensitivity can feel like a sharp pain followed by an aching and patients need to explain exactly what they’re feeling and what brought it on to their dentist. Patients should share what happens when they eat or drink hot or cold foods and what if anything helps ease the pain and sensitivity. Communicating symptoms with the dentist can help them make an accurate diagnosis.

Dental treatments for sensitive teeth

Dental treatments for sensitive teeth can include in-office treatments and products the patient applies at home. For patients diagnosed with dentin hypersensitivity, the dentist can apply a protective coating or desensitizing agent. Dentists also sometimes recommend desensitizing toothpaste or prescribe a stannous fluoride gel. If a dentist applies a desensitizing agent as treatment, the patient should avoid eating or drinking for a short period to eliminate irritation sources, and the dentist may recommend changing oral hygiene habits to prevent tooth abrasion.

It’s important to pay attention to any oral discomfort or pain as it can indicate a deeper problem that requires dental attention. Contact Dupont Dental to set up a regular exam and discuss any issues you’re experiencing.

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Tips for healthy gums

Maintaining Healthy Gums

When most people think about dental health, they may focus mostly on preventing decay and cavities in their teeth, but having healthy gums is just as important as having healthy teeth. Healthy gums are vital for your overall well-being and dental health and quite often give early indications of a problem in your mouth. Bleeding and swollen gums are often a sign of gum disease, but other issues that require attention and treatment can also cause such irritation. Thankfully, there are ways to minimize the discomfort and potential damage to sore, painful gums.

Brushing correctly

Brushing your teeth too vigorously can damage the delicate tissue of your gums, so it’s important that you brush properly. Always choose a soft toothbrush with blunt end nylon bristles because the medium or hard bristled toothbrushes can damage enamel and lead to swollen, red gums. Whether you use an electric or manual toothbrush, move the brush with gentle, circular motions that massage the gums and clean teeth without furious scrubbing. Avoid back and forth motion as this can damage and irritate gums causing gum recession, soreness, and bleeding.

Flossing correctly

Flossing is an essential part of proper oral hygiene, and a step many people avoid or do incorrectly. Flossing removes plaque where your toothbrush can’t reach, and this is vital because built-up plaque can irritate gums and lead to more severe issues. When you floss, work gently to avoid causing bleeding swollen gums. Don’t force the floss between teeth, but slide it carefully up and down along the curve of each tooth.

Signs of unhealthy gums

Without practicing proper oral hygiene, you increase the risk of having gum disease. Gum disease has different severities from mild gingivitis to the most serious type called periodontitis. One of the main causes of gum disease is improper oral hygiene, which leads to the formation of plaque on the teeth from built up bacteria. The bacteria can lead to inflamed gums that are swollen, red and may bleed. Gingivitis isn’t always painful, but that doesn’t make it harmless. Early treatment of gingivitis helps reverse it and can restore good oral health. Without treatment, gingivitis can get worse, progress to periodontitis and even lead to tooth loss. There are several signs of unhealthy gums including:

  • Bleeding gums during and after brushing
  • Tender, swollen or red gums
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Deep pockets between gums and teeth
  • Gum recession
  • Shifted or loose teeth
  • Changes in bite or alignment of teeth
  • Change in fit of partial dentures or bridge

Tobacco use and gum health

It isn’t just smoking that’s bad for your gums and oral health; any tobacco use has detrimental effects on your dental and overall health. Smokers are at a higher risk to develop gum disease, and tobacco use can lead to bleeding, sensitive gums, and mouth sores.

Prevent gum issues

To prevent gum issues such as bleeding, swelling or soreness, maintain proper oral hygiene by brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Eating a well-balanced diet with ample calcium and Vitamin C can help minimize the potential for gum issues. Drink adequate water, especially after meals to help wash food particles from your teeth and prevent the development of bacteria that leads to plaque. If you’re a smoker or use other tobacco products, look into ways to quit to improve your oral and overall health. Relax and try to keep your stress levels low because high stress raises the hormone cortisol in your body, which can cause inflammation in your entire body, including your gums.

If you experience any swelling, bleeding or soreness in your gums, contact Dupont Dental to set up a professional dental exam and cleaning to help improve and protect your oral health.

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