Although many people love eating snow cones and popsicles in the hot Colorado sun, the thought may bring shivers up your spine. If you’re one of the 50 million Americans who suffer from sensitive teeth, you don’t have to spend the summer hiding from cold food and drinks. Here are some tips to ease the pain:
• Switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brushing too hard can wear away enamel and even lead to receding gums. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush gently on the teeth and gum line.
• See your dentist regularly. Routine dental care is essential, especially if you have sensitive teeth. Your dentist will be able to spot decayed or damaged teeth — problems that contribute to sensitivity.
• Use whitening products in moderation. Most whitening products contain peroxide, a chemical that has been shown to irritate tooth nerves. Try cutting back the frequency in which you use whitening gels and toothpaste. A short break between treatments can help reduce sensitivity.
• Stop teeth grinding. Grinding your teeth can wear down tooth enamel and expose the dentin, the protective tissue that makes up the core of each tooth. If you grind your teeth in your sleep, ask your dentist about a nighttime mouth guard.
• Avoid acidic foods and drinks. Sour can be just as bad as sweet. Regular consumption of foods with a high acid content, such as lemons, tomatoes, olives, or pickles, can also cause enamel erosion.
• Use desensitizing toothpaste and fluoride gel. Both products strengthen tooth enamel and reduce overall sensitivity.
Make an appointment with your dentist if you have specific questions or concerns about your teeth sensitivity. In the meantime, if you’re craving a cold treat, choose one with little or no sugar. Your mouth will thank you.