Ouch! That Hurts! Caring for Sensitive Teeth
Does drinking a cold soft drink or eating hot soup make your child wince? If so, he or she may be one of the more than 40 million Americans with sensitive teeth.
Tooth sensitivity develops when a tooth loses its protective layers. The part of the tooth above the gum line is protected by a layer of enamel, the hardest substance in the body. A softer layer of a material extends below the gum line and protects the tooth roots. Under this lies a layer of dentin. All these protective layers shield the tooth pulp, which contains nerves and blood vessels. When the enamel and dentin are worn away or a tooth root is exposed, hot, cold or acidic foods—even breathing in cold air—can stimulate nerve cells in the pulp and cause a short, sharp pain.
What can you do to stop this pain? First, take your child to see Dr. Jared if the sensitivity lasts more than a few days. Worn fillings or crowns, cracked teeth, a developing abscess, tooth grinding at night, receding gums or gingivitis—sore, swollen, or inflamed gums—can cause tooth sensitivity. These problems need to be treated.
If your child’s mouth gets a clean bill of health, we may recommend some or all of the following:
- Choose the right toothpaste. Some people develop sensitivity to tartar-control or whitening toothpastes. Ask your dentist whether an American Dental Association–approved fluoridated desensitizing toothpaste might be right for your child.
- Brush correctly. Have your child brush gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush. If the bristles on the brush are bent, your child is brushing too hard.
- Choose the correct mouthwash. Acidic mouthwashes can worsen tooth sensitivity. Ask your dentist to recommend a neutral fluoridated mouthwash for your child.
- Become more aware of what your child eats. Acidic drinks such as juice and colas can wear away protective enamel.
- We can apply a fluoride gel, fluoride varnish or dentin sealer to protect the tooth’s roots.
Do not let tooth sensitivity ruin your child’s enjoyment of food. Talk to us about ways to protect your child’s teeth.
Schedule an appointment today at KiDDS Dental! Give us a call at (509)-891-7070 or click here.