Many people suffer from tooth sensitivity; the sensation (which ranges from a mild tingle to a very sharp sting) almost always occurs after eating foods that are very acidic, hot or cold and is believed to be caused by gum disease and enamel erosion. Whilst it is not a serious condition, it can be extremely painful. Fortunately, there are quite a few things you can do to reduce the sensitivity of your teeth.
Invest in the right products
As mentioned above, teeth can become more sensitive after the enamel erodes. Oftentimes, this erosion is the result of using an abrasive, hard-bristled toothbrush. Continuing to use this type of brush after your enamel has already been damaged will only serve to irritate your already-sensitive teeth and lead to further erosion. Instead, opt for a soft-bristled toothbrush that will allow you to clean your teeth without causing irritation or more damage.
It's also important to use the right type of toothpaste. There are lots of formulations available which can reduce sensitivity; some work by numbing the tooth's nerve-endings, whilst others are designed to obstruct the tubules (the tiny holes inside teeth) that enable acidic, hot or cold foods to reach the tooth's nerves. Whichever formulation you opt for, make sure to use it consistently, as this type of toothpaste needs to be used on a regular basis in order to work.
Adopt a different diet
If your tooth sensitivity is very painful and makes mealtimes difficult, it may be wise to try to identify and then avoid the food and drink that tend to exacerbate this issue. For most people, the culprits are citrus fruits, tomatoes, fizzy drinks, ice-cream, coffee and tea. If you love things like milkshakes, fruit smoothies and carbonated drinks, and would like to continue consuming them, you might want to try using a straw to drink them, as this will reduce the amount of contact between your teeth and the liquid.
Consult your dentist
Whilst the aforementioned tips can often dramatically reduce tooth sensitivity for many sufferers, they may not work for everyone. If your 'at-home' methods aren't doing the trick, make an appointment with your dentist. They will carry out a thorough assessment to make sure that there isn't any underlying condition which could be causing the pain. If they determine that it is simply a case of bad tooth sensitivity, they may offer you a fluoride varnish treatment; this involves painting a fluoride solution onto the affected teeth, in order to prevent the nerves inside them from coming into contact with external triggers. This type of varnish usually wears off after a year or two and so will usually need to be reapplied periodically.