The Academy of General Dentistry estimates that 40 million Americans have tooth sensitivity. It may seem like a small problem (to someone who doesn’t have it), but it can really impact you on a day-to-day basis. And dealing with dental pain every day puts a damper on even the happiest occasions, which is no way to go through life! Fortunately, by avoiding certain foods that contribute to sensitivity and using a few tips and tricks, you can keep it at bay and get back to enjoying a pain-free life. Keep reading to learn about 5 common foods to avoid and get some additional oral health tips – your sensitive teeth will thank you!
1. Regular and Diet Soda
Any carbonated beverage, even sparkling water, contains phosphoric acid and carbonic acid that wear away enamel over time. If you can’t imagine giving these beverages up entirely, try to enjoy them with meals or have just 1 per day.
Definitely don’t sip on them all day because how frequently your teeth are exposed to sugar and acid greatly increases sensitivity and enamel wear.
2. Acidic Foods
If you enjoy sour tastes or eat a lot of acidic foods, you can wear away your enamel over time and expose the sensitive layer underneath called dentin. Some people even suck on lemons, which can quickly do a real number on your teeth.
It’s a good idea to minimize these foods and beverages as much as possible:
- Citrus fruits or lemon in water
- Tomatoes and tomato sauce
Also, be sure to rinse your mouth out with plain water when you do enjoy one of these foods or beverages. And don’t brush your teeth for at least 20 minutes afterwards because the acid temporarily softens your enamel, making it more susceptible to being worn away.
This may seem obvious, but many people don’t think about the ice in their beverage until bam! they’re suddenly in pain and holding the side of their face.
When you’re eating out, request drinks without ice – and definitely don’t chew on it.
4. Sticky Candy
When sweet foods stick to your teeth for an extended period of time, they destroy the enamel and cause sensitivity. Make sure that gummies, caramel, toffee and other sweet, sticky foods are only an occasional treat.
5. Ice Cream
No surprise here, but just like ice, ice cream also increases sensitivity. It’s not to say that you can never enjoy ice cream again, but minimize it as much as you can and avoid biting directly into it with your teeth.
Additional Tips For Reducing Tooth Sensitivity
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and light pressure when brushing.
- Use topical fluoride (either a fluoride mouthwash from the store or a prescription-strength toothpaste from a dentist). Not only does fluoride make your enamel harder and prevent cavities, but it also reduces sensitivity.
- Schedule regular checkups.
- Chew sugar-free or xylitol gum after meals or snacks. If you don’t have any on hand, rinse with water several times.
Sensitive teeth are no fun to deal with. But by making good choices and practicing good oral hygiene, you can keep it to a minimum!
About the Author
Dr. Asra Javeed is a family dentist who works with many patients who have sensitive teeth. In addition to providing outstanding preventive care to help them manage their sensitivity, she also provides information on what they can do between visits. If your teeth are sensitive and you have any questions, she can be contacted through her website or at (757) 383-7151.