Many people believe that by brushing their teeth hard, they are removing more plaque and food debris. However, this commonly made mistake can cause tooth damage and sensitivity.
Dentists recommend brushing twice a day, in the morning after breakfast and in the evening before bed. Two minutes is the recommended amount of time per brushing session, although millions of Americans fall short on time, which can leave behind plaque and food on the teeth.
Without proper brushing technique, you are more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease because of harmful oral bacteria that are responsible for eating away at enamel and gingival tissue.
If you’re up-to-date with your dental visits and you brush and floss regularly, you simply need to know, are you brushing correctly?
Brushing incorrectly is common for many reasons. The most common reason is people are unaware of the correct brushing technique or they fall short on the two minutes of daily recommended brushing. In fact, the average amount of time people brush for is only 45 seconds!
If you experience signs like pain from certain foods or sensitivity when you’re smiling or catch some cold air, you may be brushing too hard.
Signs you’re brushing too hard
There are numerous signs that you may be using your toothbrush a bit too rigorously. Sometimes there are clinical symptoms like sensitivity, and other signs may require a visual examination by a dentist.
Receding gums: When you brush too hard at the gumline, you may be brushing away your gum tissue to pull away from the tooth, revealing the root and subgingival tooth structure. This can lead to sensitivity, and over the long-term can even lead to gum disease.
Severe toothbrush wear: If you notice your toothbrush looks like it came out of your dog’s mouth, there is a good chance you’re brushing too hard. A toothbrush should ideally be changed every three months. If your bristles are worn away and misshapen, it may mean you’re putting too much pressure when brushing.
Tooth sensitivity: Brushing too hard can wear away enamel and reveal inner layers of the tooth like the dentin layer. Dentin has nerves in it, and when exposed to extreme temperature changes can be painful.
Dull teeth appearance: You may notice that your teeth don’t appear shiny and bright, and there is more of a darker, yellow hue. This can indicate that the darker dentin layer is showing through, and there is enamel wear from brushing too hard.
Tooth decay: Brushing too hard can wear away protective enamel and leave teeth more prone to developing cavities. Moon-shaped cavities are often seen at the gum line or on the root surface of people who brush too hard.
Brushing too hard is very harmful
Gum tissue should be looked at like gold because once you lose any gum tissue, you can’t get it back. While you cannot replace enamel tooth structure, a dental filling can help restore teeth from decay. Gum tissue that is worn away is not as easily replaceable as you would require a gum graft and surgery.
Overbrushing can leave you with extremely sensitive teeth, making it uncomfortable to eat or drink without pain.
You may not be able to whiten your teeth with bleaching gel because it would cause too much pain and sensitivity if you have enamel wear from brushing.
Since overbrushing can leave you with irreversible results, it is important to look at ways to prevent this habit. If you have already done some damage, maintenance is key.
Simple ways to prevent brushing too hard
There are some easy ways you can still maintain great oral health without damaging your teeth. Some great tips to keep your teeth healthy include:
Proper brushing technique: Proper brushing is one of the first things you need to learn so that you can adequately keep your teeth clean, but also safe. Brush at a 45-degree angle in tiny circles on each tooth surface. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing for a minimum of two minutes to remove all surface debris.
Use the right bristle toothbrush: Brushing with a medium or hard bristle brush is harmful to your teeth and gums because it is extremely abrasive. Instead, opt for a toothbrush with soft or extra-soft bristles.
Use an electric toothbrush with a built-in sensor: A manual brush with soft bristles or an electric toothbrush with a sensor that vibrates and alarms you if you brush too hard is a great way to reduce putting too much pressure on your teeth.
Monitor your brush: If you notice that your bristles are worn down and flat, it’s a sign you are brushing too hard. Keep an eye on your toothbrush wear and if you see it start to fray quickly, limit the pressure you’re using when brushing.
Use a non-abrasive toothpaste: Some toothpaste contain harsh, abrasive materials that can cause wear and tear on the teeth. Think of the very popular charcoal toothpaste commonly used for whitening, and it can cause enamel wear over time. Use a paste that is ADA approved and safe for your mouth.
Visit your dentist: Going for routine dental visits every six months is an important way to get a professional opinion on how your teeth look. Your dentist will monitor your teeth and gums to ensure they’re in top shape.
Treatment options for brushing too hard
Unfortunately, tooth structure and gum tissue do not grow back like hair or nails. But, if you have enamel wear or gum recession, you can speak with your dentist about treatment that can limit your symptoms.
Treatment often involves:
Silver diamine fluoride (SDF)
Scaling and root planing
Crowns and crown lengthening
Brushing your teeth seems like a simple task, and usually, it is! But, in the case you are brushing too hard, you may be doing more damage than good. The best thing you can do for your teeth is attending your dental appointments and discuss your brushing habits with your dentists and hygienist.
(09/26/2022) by Caldwell, Bills & Petrilli Dentistry
Like most people, when you discover you have a cavity or pain in your teeth, the first thing you do is make an appointment with your dentist as you think that fillings are the only way to fix cavities. However, what most people fail to realize is that tooth decay and cavities can be reversed and fillings aren’t the only option available.
This article will explain the basic principles behind how you can heal cavities naturally and prevent tooth decay.
1. Change your diet and reduce your sugar intake. Studies in the British Medical Journal suggest that a change in diet can actually reverse tooth decay. Easy adjustments can be made to your diet immediately like:
Consuming more calcium rich foods (i.e. kale, collards, broccoli rabe and dairy) which can help strengthen your bones and teeth.
Avoid drinking pop, juice and drinks with high carbonation as the sugars cause excessive plaque and tartar build up which may result in cavities.
2. If you want to protect your teeth from early decay or heal existing tooth decay, include the following steps in your oral care routine.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day ensuring you reach all the surfaces, crevices, pockets and corners.
Floss at least once daily. This helps remove any remaining food from underneath your gums and prevents bacteria from forming.
Use mouthwash; it has antibacterial properties and helps you get rid of any remaining bacteria in your mouth.
3. Add vitamins and supplements to your diet. Micronutrients are essential to bone health and keep inflammation under control to prevent or reverse cavities. Certain vitamins help produce saliva which helps to prevent bacteria from staying on your teeth and certain vitamins make your teeth a lot stronger. Foods that help promote salivation include bananas, Brussels sprouts, and peas. Vitamins you should consume include Vitamin B, D, magnesium and iron. If you’re not interested in taking supplements, eat whole grain foods and seafood (i.e. salmon, canned tuna and sardines are all great sources of vitamin D).
4. Eat foods with natural probiotics. Because bad bacteria associated with infection look for places to hide in the small areas between the teeth, consuming probiotics helps to offset the acidic pH. Foods rich in probiotics include kombucha, kefir and fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut. These foods stimulate the production of healthy bacteria in the mouth needed to prevent plaque buildup and dental decay.
5. Be aware of the pH values in the foods/drink you consume. Imbalanced pH levels can create an environment for bacteria to thrive. Drinks such as coffee create pH imbalances (like some citrus fruits and sugars), and act as the perfect environment for harbouring infectious oral bacteria. If you’re a daily coffee drinker and suffering from tooth decay, a great alternative to coffee is green tea as it contains a polyphenol (known as catechins) which acts as a powerful antioxidant and has several anti-inflammatory properties which hinder the growth of harmful bacteria and improves oral health.
6. Develop a new oral care regime. Have you heard of a technique called oil pulling? Oil pulling is believed to create a soap like cleansing on teeth with moisturizing and antiseptic capabilities. It consists of swishing an oil (i.e. sesame, sunflower or coconut oil) for about 10-20 minutes in the mouth to reduce plaque buildup. It’s important that you don’t swallow the oil and to brush your teeth afterwards. Oil pulling has been shown to reduce plaque and gingivitis in one month’s time.
Remember, if a cavity has already struck, a trip to the dentist may not be avoidable. However, you can limit the damage by following these simple steps and paying a little extra attention to your pearly whites.
To understand why exposed dentine is a challenge to be solved, here's a mini-lesson on teeth:
Enamel is the outer layer of each tooth. It's sort of a superhero since enamel is the hardest substance in our entire bodies and helps protect us from tooth sensitivity. Yay for enamel!
Directly beneath enamel is the dentine layer. Though considerably softer than enamel, it supports your tooth's structure. (Hurray, dentine!) Dentine contains thousands of microscopic tubules with nerve endings connecting directly to the inner pulp of the tooth.
Dental pulp contains the nerve fibre that interprets everything as pain. Yikes!
If your enamel wears away, exposing your dentine, then cold, heat, pressure, or almost anything can cause sensitivity. To learn how to prevent exposed dentine, first be aware of the causes. If you already have exposed dentine, know what treatments are at the ready.
Dentine Exposure: Causes and Prevention
The best way to avoid sensitivity due to dentine exposure is to prevent practices or conditions leading to enamel erosion. Luckily, for the most common causes of dentine exposure, there's a preventive measure.
Cause of Exposure: Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can result from stress, malocclusion (a misaligned bite), or certain diseases affecting your muscles. Over time, grinding can lead to thinning enamel on your teeth's biting surfaces. Eventually, this thinning will cause the enamel to wear away, leaving the dentine exposed.
Prevention: Your doctor and dentist can advise you on ways to prevent grinding, which can include dental work, orthodontic treatment, stress management, medication, or sleep disorder treatments.
However, to prevent your enamel from thinning, your dentist can make a splint or an acrylic mouthguard to reduce tooth-to-tooth wear while you sleep. While they won't stop the grinding, these items will protect your teeth from wearing down.
Cause of Exposure: When plaque accumulates along your gingival margin, the edge of the gum that meets your teeth, the result can be gum recession (and disease). When your gums recede below your enamel layer into the root, your cementum layer will be exposed. This can lead to dentine exposure.
Prevention: This is where your oral health routine comes into play:
Gently brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste.
Floss once a day.
Schedule twice-annual dental check-ups at which your dental professional examines your gums for any recession.
Yep, it's that easy!
Cause of Exposure: Using a hard toothbrush and repeatedly scrubbing, especially with abrasive toothpaste, can also scrape off your enamel and expose dentine. Overbrushing is most troublesome along the gumline, where the enamel is thinnest.
Prevention: If you're a vigorous brusher, switch to a soft-bristled brush or an electric toothbrush that alerts you when you brush too hard. Also, use non-abrasive toothpaste.
And don't forget to floss! Removing bacteria in-between your teeth makes them feel cleaner and helps prevent cavities and gum inflammation. That, in turn, reduces your risk of gum recession and sensitivity.
Cause of Exposure: When gastric reflux occurs, your stomach acid enters your mouth, leading to enamel erosion and tooth decay.
Prevention: By managing GORD, you can help prevent dentine exposure. Consult your doctor, who might recommend lifestyle changes, a prescription or over-the-counter medicine, or surgery.
Treating Exposed Dentine
Once dentine exposure occurs, you'll experience sensitivity ranging from mild yet annoying sensations to brief but intense shooting pains. Exposed dentine treatments your dentist might suggest include those listed by the UK Forum on dentine hypersensitivity, as reported by Dental Nursing:
Toothpaste for sensitive teeth: Ask your dentist what toothpaste best blocks tooth nerve sensitivity. You might have to brush over several days before you notice a sensitivity reduction.
Fluoride varnish: Your dental professional will administer this varnish, which has a dual action: it strengthens your tooth enamel and reduces teeth sensitivity.
Restorative correction such as crowns or bonding: Your dentist might perform one of these procedures if your sensitivity results from decay or a dental imperfection.
Surgical gum graft: If you lose gum tissue at the root level, a graft can reduce sensitivity while protecting the root.
Learning about the layers of your teeth helps you understand what causes tooth sensitivity – or hypersensitivity – due to dentine exposure. And that's the first step to prevention. It's good to know treatments exist for dentine exposure, but it's better if you can keep your enamel healthy. After all, that's the layer exposing your smile.
Cavities happen all the time. They’re an extremely common problem that most everyone faces when they’re a child, teen, or adult. When you sit in the dentist’s chair and find out you have a cavity, it can put a damper on your day. Cavities are often minor inconveniences, and annoying toothaches and tooth sensitivity are often associated with cavities.
Cavities are simply no fun at all. Nonetheless, with quick treatment by your dentist and oral hygiene diligence, cavities don’t have to form into bigger problems. If left untreated, however, cavities can form into much bigger oral complications, such as tooth loss, broken teeth, and gum disease.
Don’t forget, your dentist also performs an oral cancer screening during your dental exam as well!
Cavity Formation and Risk Factors
Cavities form because of tooth decay – often due to excess bacteria and plaque in the mouth. Once the tooth begins to decay, a cavity forms over time and creates little holes in teeth. Sometimes, when a cavity forms, you can experience a toothache or sensitivity to hot and cold. Some people may not experience any pain or discomfort from a cavity and that’s why it is so important to see your dentist for regular checkups and cavity checks.
Bacteria is a destructive force in the mouth. When bacteria are present, they begin breaking down enamel, causing a build-up of plaque and tartar, and irritate the gums. Everything in connected with your oral health and if bacteria begins affecting a tooth and causing a cavity, it could also be causing gum disease.
Here’s a deep dive into Gum Disease.
Gum Disease Causes and Treatment
Cavities are a tell-tale sign of excess bacteria in the mouth. This means that you probably need to up the amp on your oral hygiene routine. Maybe you need to spend more time brushing, add in more flossing, and so on. Talking with your dentist will help you pin-point what you can do to eliminate the risk of cavities and gum disease. When cavities are present and bacteria is left untreated in the mouth, your gums can begin to get inflamed, which is the basis of gum disease.
According to WebMD, gum disease begins with bacteria in the mouth and can lead to tooth loss because of the loss of gum tissue. Gum disease attacks the gums, making them recede and not hold on to your teeth as well as they should. Look for these signs and symptoms:
Swollen or sensitive gums
Pockets between the gums
Catching gum disease early is key to recovery, much like cavities. Proper plaque and bacteria control are key to eliminating gum disease and cavity risk! So, talk with your dentist to see what works best for you, and remember that proper oral healthcare is the best defense against bacteria.
Tooth decay is damage that occurs to your teeth, which can potentially result in cavities, dental abscesses, or even tooth loss. It’s caused by the activity of certain species of bacteria that can live in dental plaque.
The bacteria in plaque can convert the sugars present in your food into acids. If plaque is allowed to build up over time, these acids can begin to damage your teeth.
This is why good oral hygiene is a vital part of preventing tooth decay.
Tooth decay occurs in several stages. Below, we’ll explore each of these stages, discuss how tooth decay is treated, and give you some tips on how to prevent it from happening.
Stages of tooth decay
Dental plaque is important to the tooth decay process. Plaque is a colorless, sticky film that covers the surfaces of your teeth. It’s made up of bacteria, food particles, and saliva.
If your teeth aren’t cleaned regularly, plaque can begin to build up. It can also harden over time, forming something called tartar. The presence of tartar can help to further protect bacteria, making them more difficult to remove.
Generally speaking, there are five stages of tooth decay. Let’s examine them in more detail below.
Stage 1: Initial demineralization
The outer layer of your teeth is composed of a type of tissue called enamel. Enamel is the hardest tissueTrusted Source in your body and is mostly made up of minerals.
However, as a tooth is exposed to acids produced by plaque bacteria, the enamel begins to lose these minerals.
When this occurs, you may see a white spot appear on one of your teeth. This area of mineral loss is an initial sign of tooth decay.
Stage 2: Enamel decay
If the process of tooth decay is allowed to continue, enamel will break down further. You may notice that a white spot on a tooth darkens to a brownish color.
As enamel is weakened, small holes in your teeth called cavities, or dental caries, can form. Cavities will need to be filled by your dentist.
Stage 3: Dentin decay
Dentin is the tissue that lies under the enamel. It’s softer than enamel, which makes it more sensitive to damage from acid. Because of this, tooth decay proceeds at a faster rate when it reaches the dentin.
Dentin also contains tubes that lead to the nerves of the tooth. Because of this, when dentin is affected by tooth decay, you may begin experiencing sensitivity. You may notice this particularly when having hot or cold foods or drinks.
Stage 4: Pulp damage
The pulp is the innermost layer of your tooth. It contains the nerves and blood vessels that help to keep the tooth healthy. The nerves present in the pulp also provide sensation to the tooth.
When damage to the pulp happens, it may become irritated and start to swell. Because the surrounding tissues in the tooth can’t expand to accommodate this swelling, pressure may be placed on the nerves. This can lead to pain.
Stage 5: Abscess
As tooth decay advances into the pulp, bacteria can invade and cause an infection. Increased inflammation in the tooth can lead to a pocket of pus forming at the bottom of your tooth, called an abscess.
Tooth abscesses can cause severe pain that may radiate into the jaw. Other symptoms that may be present include swelling of the gums, face or jaw, fever, and swollen lymph nodes in your neck.
A tooth abscess requires prompt treatment, as the infection can spread into the bones of your jaw as well as other areas of your head and neck. In some cases, treatment may involve removing the affected tooth.
The treatment that’s recommended for tooth decay can depend on its stage. Let’s take a look at the different treatment options based on the progression of tooth decay.
This earliest stage of tooth decay can actually be reversed before more permanent damage occurs. This can be achieved by treating the teeth with fluoride.
You can receive a fluoride treatment at your dentist’s office. It’s often applied to your teeth in the form of a gel or varnish. Fluoride works to strengthen enamel, making it more resistant to the acids produced by plaque bacteria.
Fluoride can also be found in some types of toothpastes and is often present in tap water. About 74 percentTrusted Source of Americans that get their tap water from a community water system receive fluorinated water.
When tooth decay enters this stage, cavities are often present. Fillings are used to treat cavities.
When giving a filling, your dentist will first use a tool to clear away any areas of decay. They’ll then fill the hole with a material such as resin, ceramic, or dental amalgam. This material is typically the same color as your tooth.
Because dentin is softer than the enamel, decay moves at a faster rate when it reaches this stage. If identified early, dentin decay may be treated with a filling. In more advanced cases, placement of a crown may be required.
A crown is a covering that covers the top portion of your tooth above the gums (also called the crown of the tooth). The decayed area is removed before the crown is placed. Some healthy tooth tissue may be removed as well to ensure that the crown fits well to your tooth.
When tooth decay has reached the pulp, you’ll often need a root canal. In a root canal, the damaged pulp is removed. The tooth cavity is then cleaned and filled in. A crown is placed on the affected tooth.
If an abscess has formed in your tooth, your dentist will likely perform a root canal to remove the infection and seal the tooth. In severe cases, the affected tooth may need to be removed completely.
Antibiotics may also be prescribed to help treat an abscess. These are medications that kill bacteria.
It’s essential to take good care of your teeth, especially as you grow old. One of the long-held misconceptions is the belief that losing one’s teeth is inevitable. This is far from the truth; if you properly take care of your teeth, they’ll last a lifetime.
Some changes occur in your mouth as you age. The nerves in the teeth get smaller, thus making them less sensitive to cavities or other dental problems. And if you don’t go for regular dental checkups and examinations, this could lead to more severe dental diseases not diagnosed until a later stage.
How Do You Keep Your Teeth Healthy as You Age?
Most people believe the misconception that tooth loss and gum disease are inevitable as they age. That’s not always true; your oral health as you age is your responsibility. Here are some tips to help you keep your teeth healthy.
Floss and Brush Your Teeth Every Day
You should floss and brush your teeth at least twice a day. This will help remove plaque. Plaque is an invisible bacteria film that lives inside the mouth. As it feeds on sugar and carbohydrate components in your mouth, it produces an acidic substance that attacks your gums and erodes your teeth. Brushing and flossing your teeth goes a long way in preventing this plaque from building up and causing dental problems for you.
Manage Dry Mouth
Older adults mostly experience dry mouth because of certain medications. The presence of saliva in the mouth helps to wash away food particles and bacteria. With less saliva in the mouth, you may be more vulnerable to more dental issues. This is why it’s important to manage your dry mouth by ensuring you drink enough water. If you experience unusual dry mouth, let our dentists know in your next dental appointment.
Take Proper Care of Your Gums
You must understand that your teeth are part of an interconnected system – the gums. Hence taking proper care of your gums will help you maintain strong and healthy teeth. Book an appointment with our dentists when you have swollen or bleeding gums. The quicker we detect the gum disease, the sooner we’ll help you restore your oral health. Having healthy gums go a long way in supporting and holding your teeth in place, thus making you less susceptible to losing your teeth as you age. Even if you wear dentures, having healthy gums will firmly support your appliance, making you talk and eat with ease.
If you’re a smoker, do your best to quit smoking. Smoking suppresses your immune system and deprives your body of the ability to heal itself. This, in turn, can make it hard for your body to fight against germs and bacteria, thus leading to tooth decay and gum disease. Moreover, if you’re addicted to tobacco, you stand a chance of getting throat/oral cancer.
Schedule an Appointment With a Dentist Regularly
If you want to maintain positive oral health, book an appointment with our dentists at Westerville Dental Associates at least once every six months for oral examination and teeth cleaning.
Why Do Teeth Shift With Age?
The mouth is made up of a biological system of bones that are in constant motion. As you age, your teeth, especially the front ones, tend to shift toward the front of your mouth. Teeth shifting causes crowding that can become an aesthetic problem. When your teeth become crowded, it becomes harder to clean and floss, thus making them more prone to plaque build-up.
You might be wondering what causes these teeth to shift. As you age, the support structures (tissues, bones, muscles, and ligaments) that once kept the teeth in place become weak. Jawbones, like every other bone in the body, lose their minerals and become less dense over time. This bone weakness is the leading cause of tooth loss and shifting.
What Can You Do to Straighten Your Teeth as You Age?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends the use of fixed braces for straightening teeth. A temporary bracket is stuck to the teeth and joined with a flexible wire which exerts pressure on the teeth and moves it forward slowly. The wires are generally adjusted after every eight weeks.
Another possible alternative used to straighten teeth is the use of clear aligners. For this treatment option, a dental scan is used to fashion an array of plastic aligners that can be worn day and night. The aligners are programmed to move your teeth about a quarter of a millimeter at a time for about 5 to 2 weeks.
What Are The Signs of Poor Oral Health as You Age?
Poor oral health and hygiene manifest itself in diverse ways. From toothaches to swelling or bleeding of gums, alterations to the tongue’s surface, and growth in the mouth, poor oral hygiene has different forms. Here are some of the most common signs of poor oral hygiene.
Tooth Pain and Tooth Decay
If you experience unusual tooth pain, don’t take it for granted. There is a chance that the pain will persist even when you increase the frequency of your cleanings. Tooth pain is an early sign of tooth decay. Visit our dentists immediately.
Bleeding and Swollen Gums
Swelling, bleeding, or alterations in the color of your gum is a sign that something is wrong with your oral health. Only a professional dentist can fully tell you if it’s an early sign of gum disease. Treating your gums earlier can help prevent the occurrence of other severe gum diseases.
Other signs include:
Growths within the mouth
Alterations to the tongue
Continuous care of your teeth and overall oral health helps to ensure you maintain a beautiful smile for years to come. Please don’t be afraid to contact your dentist if you have any questions.
We all have our favorite brands and flavors. It's crisp, refreshing, and zero calories. And that makes us feel good about our beverage choice. We're talking about sparkling water, of course! It's popularity right now is massively escalating, according to USA Today. But how does it affect your pearly whites? Is sparkling water bad for your teeth? We've got all the sparling water answers you need.
How Does Soda Affect Your Teeth?
If you asked your dentist for their thoughts on soda, they'd recommend avoiding it. Why? Two big reasons:
Sugar — soda has an abundance of it, leading to tooth decay and cavities
Acid — most sodas are highly acidic, contributing to tooth erosion
So now you know what not to drink. Some healthier alternatives to drink include water, milk, and you guessed it — unsweetened sparkling water.
What Are Sparkling Water's Effects on Your Teeth?
That fizzy refreshment in your sparkling water, it's caused by carbonation. And it's the carbonation that has some concerned. So is carbonated water bad for your teeth? A Journal of the American Dental Association study found that many popular sports drinks were "extremely erosive," while most sparkling carbonated waters ranked as "minimally erosive." So does minimally erosive equate to "bad"?
Sparkling water is much less erosive than other beverages. Which is good — so it's not bad for you. "For an average, healthy person, carbonated, sugar-free beverages are not going to be a main cavity-causing factor," according to the U.S. News & World Report article. However, it's not necessarily good for you. It's great to replace soda with sparkling water, but don't replace water with fluoride over its sparkling counterpart.
What Are Some Other Ways to Protect Your Teeth?
To battles against cavities and enamel erosion, there are a few things you can do.
Brush with specially formulated toothpaste to help strengthen tooth enamel, replenish natural calcium, and protect against tooth sensitivity
See your dentist regularly to detect signs of tooth decay early when it is easy to correct or reverse
Now you know the truth about sparkling water — it isn't bad for your teeth. You also understand what's needed to keep your teeth healthy while you enjoy something fizzy.
Practicing great oral care not only involves brushing twice a day and flossing daily—it also means visiting your oral care provider for a professional cleaning every six months. While these visits usually are painless and quick, they can sometimes leave your teeth feeling sensitive, especially if you received a deep cleaning. Luckily, over time these sensations will fade and do not indicate anything serious. Here’s a look at why you have sensitive teeth after a cleaning and what you can do if this feeling lasts longer than expected.
Why Are My Teeth Sensitive After A Cleaning?
Teeth sensitivity happens when the dentin, which is the layer beneath your enamel, becomes exposed due to receding gums. Remember—your roots don’t have enamel to protect them, so anything that comes in contact with them may cause sensitivity, like dental tools. While several factors contribute to tooth sensitivity, dental cleanings are a known cause, as your dental care professional may probe your gums and use tools that contact-sensitive areas of your teeth.
Not every dental visit will involve a deep cleaning, but your teeth may also feel sensitive afterward if you do receive this procedure. According to the University of Michigan Health Library, you may need a deep cleaning when your gums have started to pull away from the teeth and create pockets where plaque can get trapped. When your oral care provider performs this procedure, which is also known as scaling and root planing, they’ll remove tartar and rough bacteria that have calcified on your teeth in these pockets. According to the American Dental Association, scaling is when your oral care provider removes the plaque and tartar above and below the gumline using special tools. Planing is when they smooth out your teeth’s roots to help your gums reattach to your teeth.
Before a deep-cleaning session, the gums may be inflamed and swollen or have deep pockets infected with bacteria. Both scaling and root planing help treat these problems, but this treatment can hurt your teeth after the cleaning due to natural discomfort and bleeding. The dentist may offer a local anesthetic if your deep cleaning is likely to be more irritating.
What Happens Next?
It’s normal to experience sensitivity after a deep cleaning, which can last up to a week. Soreness and pain may also linger for a few days as your gums may be swollen or bleed. Your oral care provider may prescribe an antibiotic or mouth rinse to manage any pain and fight any possible infections.
Caring for Deep-Cleaned Teeth
Taking good care of your teeth after a deep cleaning treatment helps your gums heal by reducing the common triggers of pain and sensitivity. Wait at least a day before flossing, and brush your teeth carefully with a soft-bristled toothbrush while your gums are still sore. Use toothpaste for sensitive teeth to help treat and prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid eating foods or drinking liquids that set off your sensitivity. If your teeth are sensitive three or four weeks after treatment or you have other concerns, contact your dentist for a follow-up visit. He or she can check that your gums are healing well.
How to Avoid Teeth Sensitivity
One way to avoid teeth sensitivity after a deep cleaning is to look for ways to improve your current day-to-day oral care routine. In addition to brushing twice a day with a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily, avoid aggressive or hard scrubbing when brushing. You should also try to avoid acidic foods and drinks, which can lead to enamel deterioration (though using a straw can help mitigate that risk, as well as drinking water after an acidic beverage). If you grind your teeth, your oral care professional can provide you with a mouthguard that can protect you from grinding down your teeth and causing sensitivity.
While the sensation of feeling sensitivity in your teeth feels uncomfortable, it’s normal to feel it after a cleaning, and it’s usually temporary. But if your symptoms last longer than a few weeks, you should contact your oral care provider to talk about your concerns.
Remember—teeth cleanings (and deep cleanings) are easy & excellent ways to maintain great oral health and prevent cavities. Even though your teeth might be sensitive after a cleaning, don’t worry. It’s normal and temporary, and soon you’ll be on your way to a healthier smile.
A toothache is a pain in and around the teeth and jaws. Tooth decay, an infection, loose or broken fillings, or receding gums can cause it.
If the pain lasts for more than 1 or 2 days, it is best to see a dentist immediately to have it treated.
Until then, the following simple remedies made from ingredients usually available at home may provide temporary relief from the discomfort.
1. Cold compress or ice pack
A cold compress or an ice pack can help ease dental pain, especially if a toothache is due to injury or swollen gums.
A person can try holding the ice pack or a bag of frozen peas, for example, against the outside of the cheek above the painful tooth for a few minutes at a time.
The application of a cold treatment constricts the blood vessels, slowing the flow of blood to the affected area. This helps numb the pain and reduce swelling and inflammation.
2. Saltwater mouthwash
Rinsing the mouth with warm salt water helps to loosen debris lodged in cavities or between teeth. It may also reduce swellingTrusted Source, boost healing, and relieve a sore throat.
A saltwater rinse can be made by dissolving 1 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and swish around in the mouth for about 30 seconds before spitting out. This process can be repeated as often as needed.
Over-the-counter medication, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, can provide temporary pain relief for a toothache.
Aspirin should not be given to children under 16 years old.
Garlic has been widely used for medicinal purposes throughout history. It contains a compound called allicin, which accounts for its powerful antibacterial propertiesTrusted Source.
A fresh clove of garlic should first be crushed and then mixed with a little salt, and the mixture applied to the affected tooth.
5. Peppermint tea
Like cloves, peppermint has numbing properties that can soothe a toothache. Menthol, which gives peppermint its minty flavor and smell, is also known to be antibacterial.
One teaspoon of dried peppermint leaves can be put in a cup of boiling water and steeped for 20 minutes. After allowing to cool, it can be swished around in the mouth then spat out or swallowed.
A slightly warm, wet tea bag can also be used and held against the tooth for several minutes until the pain lessens.
A few drops of peppermint oil on a cotton ball can also be placed against the affected tooth as a temporary remedy.
Thyme is known for its medicinal uses and is an effective remedy for chest infections, such as bronchitis or whooping cough. Thymol, the main component of the essential oil, has antiseptic and antifungal properties.
One drop of thyme essential oil can be added to a glass of water to make a mouthwash.
Another method is to sprinkle a few drops of thyme essential oil and water onto a cotton ball. After adding the water, press it against the painful tooth.
7. Aloe vera
Aloe vera gel, which can be found within the succulent plant’s leaves, has long been used to heal burns and minor cuts. Some people now use the gel to clean and soothe gums.
Studies have shownTrusted Source that aloe vera has natural antibacterial qualities and can destroy germs that cause tooth decay.
The gel should be applied to the painful area of the mouth and gently massaged.
8. Hydrogen peroxide rinse
Rinsing with a hydrogen peroxide solution is an effective antibacterial mouthwashTrusted Source, especially if a toothache is caused by an infection.
Hydrogen peroxide is dangerous if swallowed so great care must be taken when rinsing.
It should be mixed in equal parts of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and water and swished in the mouth for about 30 seconds. After spitting it out, the mouth should be rinsed several times with plain water.
A hydrogen peroxide rinse must never be swallowed, and this remedy is not recommended for children.
Cloves are a spice native to the Maluku Islands in Indonesia. They contain eugenol, a chemical compound that acts as a natural anesthetic.
Cloves also have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial propertiesTrusted Source, which can help fight tooth and gum infections.
A person can soak a small cotton ball with clove oil and apply it to the area affected by the painful tooth.
Dried whole cloves can also be used. Gently chew a whole clove to release its oil and hold in place against the affected tooth for up to 30 minutes.
When to see a dentist
These home remedies are meant to provide temporary relief only. It is important to seek immediate treatment from a dentist once a toothache lasts for more than a day or two.
If dental pain is not treated straight away, it might lead to more serious problems, such as gum disease or a dental abscess. An abscess is caused when bacteria infect the innermost part of the tooth called a dental pulp.
The best way to prevent a toothache or dental abscesses is by keeping teeth and gums as healthy as possible. This can be done with the following steps:
brushing teeth with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day, for at least 2 minutes
cutting down on sugary food and drinks
flossing or using an interdental brush regularly to clean between the teeth and under the gum line
not smoking, as it can make dental problems worse
having regular dental checkups
If someone has a toothache that lasts longer than a couple of days, they should see their dentist for advice and treatment.
It is not unusual to read or talk about the importance of proper oral hygiene, but not everyone inherently knows what that entails. Even adults who have been visiting their local dentist for years might not fully understand what tasks should be included in their everyday schedule. For ideal dental hygiene, this is what your daily oral health routine should look like
BRUSH YOUR TEETH AT LEAST TWICE EACH DAY
The backbone of a great dental health routine is brushing your teeth twice each day. You should always use a toothbrush that can easily reach the teeth in the back of your mouth, and it should be soft-bristled. Brush over all of the surfaces of your teeth, and be sure to use a toothpaste that contains fluoride.
Flossing on a regular basisis one of the habits that often gets overlooked by adults. Once a day, use at least 1 foot, or 12 inches, of dental floss. Hold one end of the floss in each hand and use it carefully along the gumline between every single tooth in your mouth. In some cases, it can be hard to reach certain teeth with dental floss. However, that’s no excuse to skip an area. A dental pick of some kind should be used instead.
SCRAPE YOUR TONGUE DAILY
Scraping your tongue is a key way to remove bacteria from your tongue. If you suffer from halitosis, or bad breath, this simple act can make a serious difference. Many toothbrushes have a tongue scraper attached to the back of the brush for your convenience or your can purchase a seperate tongue scraper like these from Healthy Top 10s.
RINSE WITH MOUTHWASH DAILY
Mouthwash is an effective way of reducing plaque in your mouth, and it has been proven to reduce gum disease in many adults. Rinse with mouthwash once a day for up to 90 seconds, but be sure not to swallow the liquid.
ENJOY A VARIED AND NUTRIENT-DENSE DIET
Believe it or not, the foods that you eat can also play a significant role in your dental hygiene. Either through diet or supplements, make sure that you are taking in key vitamins like calcium on a daily basis.
Along with visiting a local dentist in your area regularly, maintaining a daily routine is key for great dental health. Brushing twice daily, flossing, using mouthwash, eating a varied diet and scraping your tongue should all be used in conjunction for better oral health.