Help for sensitive teeth

Woman using mouthwash for thorough cleaning

When ice cream, a cold drink or even the winter wind sends a painful shock through your teeth, you may have a common problem called sensitive teeth.

Many things can make teeth sensitive. They include cavities, a broken tooth, gums that have pulled back from the root, tiny cracks in your teeth, brushing too hard, tooth whiteners, and thin spots in the enamel (the hard layer that protects your teeth). A tooth may also be sensitive for a short time after you've had a filling.

Your dentist will need to take care of any cavities, broken teeth or serious gum problems. But there are several things you can do to treat minor sensitivity.

  • Use toothpaste made for sensitive teeth. Make sure it has the American Dental Association's Seal of Acceptance, which means it works and is safe to use.
  • Use a rinse with fluoride to make teeth stronger.
  • Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and don't brush too hard.
  • Floss gently.
  • If you are using a tooth whitener, stop for a few days.

Last updated January 16, 2014

This material is intended for informational use only and should not be construed as medical advice or used in place of consulting a licensed medical professional. You should consult with your doctor.

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