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Causes, Treatments, and Remedies for Sensitive Teeth & Gums

by Dr. Pooneh Ramezani, DDS

In my dental practice not a day goes by without patients asking me, "What causes sensitive teeth?" and “Which toothpaste or mouthwash is best to combat teeth sensitivity?”

Let’s first discuss what is the cause of sensitivity in your mouth:

  1.  The most common cause is hard brushing. That’s right! If you brush your teeth with a hard or medium bristle brush for years, you get what we call “Gum Recession”, which simply means that your gums that are covering your teeth will be gone for good. This is a serious situation and should be avoided. So always use a soft toothbrush.
  2. The 2nd cause of tooth sensitivity is related to your diet. The more acidic foods and drinks you consume, the more sensitivity and pain you may encounter. Produce such as lemons, limes, citrus of all kinds and juices containing acidic fruits should be consumed in moderation. Also, snacks that are sour, such as salt and vinegar chips or any sour candy and gum, could cause the same pain and sensitivity.
  3. Some medications that dry out the mouth, plus chemo or radiation therapy could cause mouth pain and sensitivity all of a sudden. Make sure you discuss this with your dentist or hygienist so they can suggest products that help soothe your mouth.
  4. Medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, HIV, people prone to canker sores, heart disease, liver failure, kidney failure, multiple sclerosis, autism, etc. could contribute to mouth pain and sensitivity. Again, make sure you let your dental professional know.

Best oral care products for sensitive teeth:

oral care products best for sensitive teethWhat is safe to use to combat sensitivity and pain in the mouth and gums you ask?

  • Plant-based products that contain: organic coconut oil, tea tree oil, neem oil, chamomile extract. These ingredients safely and gently help get rid of teeth and gum pain.
  • Mouthwashes that contain aloe vera help hydrate the mouth and make your mouth feel comfortable. 
  • Avoid oral care products that have alcohol, Poloxamer 407 (which is simply a lab made chemical used instead of vegetable glycerin and is present in most conventional mouthwashes), SLS or sulfates in any form, titanium dioxide (a chemical responsible for the white color of toothpaste and mouthwash). These chemicals simply make your mouth feel worse. 

Getting rid of sensitivity and pain in your mouth is very simple.

The easiest way is to avoid products that dry out the mouth (which, unfortunately almost all commercially available oral care products do) and use products that keep the mouth hydrated and comfortable. Within a matter of days you can experience a decrease in sensitivity and start to feel pain relief.

Unfortunately, almost all conventional products targeting dry mouth and sensitivity have the chemicals I discussed above.

You, as a smart consumer, need to make sure you shop wisely and always read labels prior to buying any products.

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