Monday, July 15, 2019

What to Do If You Have Sensitive Teeth

Tooth sensitivity is a problem for millions of Americans, who often have to deal with pain and discomfort on a daily basis. A study in the Journal of American Dentistry estimated that tooth sensitivity affects about one out of every eight people in the United States. A person suffering from sensitive teeth may experience pain when drinking cold or hot drinks or from eating certain foods. Understanding the causes of tooth sensitivity and ways to lessen it may help sufferers manage their pain.

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

What to do if you have sensitive teeth photo
The root cause of tooth pain is the exposure of nerve endings in the layer of teeth known as dentin. Normally, these nerve endings are protected by the tooth's enamel, the outermost layer of hard protective covering. Over time, this enamel can wear away, and when it does, it exposes the nerve endings inside the root of the tooth. This exposure means that highly sensitive nerves can come in contact with liquids, foods, toothbrushes, and anything else that goes into the mouth. Protecting this enamel before it wears away is the best way to avoid sensitive teeth, but patients can take steps if they already have sensitive teeth.

How Can I Relieve Tooth Sensitivity?

Relieving tooth sensitivity is often a matter of cutting out a few problematic behaviors that wear down tooth enamel. Cutting back on acidic drinks like citrus juices and coffee is a good place to start. At-home teeth-whitening products that rely on bleach or other caustic substances should also be stopped in favor of professional teeth whitening. Patients can also use toothpaste specially formulated for sensitive teeth, brush their teeth in a gentle manner, and switch to fluoride-based mouthwash.

If you follow these steps to help relieve tooth sensitivity but are still experiencing pain, it may be time to speak with a dentist to see what other measures can be taken. Hanson Dentistry offers comprehensive dental services that cater to the full dental needs of each patient. Our patients appreciate the focused, personalized, and attentive level of care we provide. Contact us today at 816-373-5606 to schedule an appointment.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Five Beverages That Damage Your Teeth

Sticky candy, hard popcorn kernels, and sugar-laden treats can all create dental issues, but most people rarely consider the oral health consequences of drinks. Here are five beverages that most commonly cause tooth damage. Enjoy these drinks sparingly and rinse your mouth with water thoroughly to mitigate their effects.

1. Sugary Cocktails 
Three cocktails on a bar

Sweet drinks with soda and juice combined with alcohol can increase the risk for cavities. Not only does the acidity of the alcohol wear away the enamel of the teeth, but the sugar in the beverage also feeds oral bacteria and causes it to multiply. This creates the perfect conditions for tooth decay. Choose cocktails made with seltzer water and other sugar-free mixers and rinse after every round.

2. Wine

White wine is another acidic beverage that can damage tooth enamel. Red wine, on the other hand, doesn't cause dental erosion and actually has phytonutrients that can protect the teeth, but it can cause stains. Staining is more likely to occur for those who recently had teeth whitening treatments or who have veneers.

3. Vodka

Less expensive brands of vodka tend to have a low pH, which means they are considered acidic and can damage teeth. Even those who stick to top-shelf brands should be concerned about the drying effects of alcohol. Without saliva, the mouth is unable to fight off cavity-causing bacteria.

4. Coffee and Tea

These morning favorites are often enjoyed with added sugar, which increases the risk of getting cavities. Coffee is just slightly acidic, while the pH varies among different types of tea. Look for varieties with pH of less than 5.5. In addition, just like red wine, coffee and tea can stain the teeth, an effect that is more obvious with veneers and recently bleached teeth.

5. Soda and Sports Drinks

These beverages are packed with sugar, making them a bad choice for those who want to avoid cavities. Even sugar-free and diet varieties contain phosphoric or citric acid, both of which cause enamel erosion.

Cosmetic dentistry can help whiten stains on teeth, while regular cleanings can help ward off cavities. Hanson Dentistry can provide care to protect your teeth and help improve stains. Contact us at 816-373-5606 to schedule an appointment.