People visit dentists for a variety of ailments, ranging from tooth cavities to root canal infections. However, the problem of tooth sensitivity, also known as dentinal hypersensitivity, seems to slip under the radar. Surveys indicate that comparatively few people actually bother visiting a dentist for tooth sensitivity. It is a worrying state of affairs, considering how common the ailment is. A study showed that one out of every eight Americans suffers from hypersensitive teeth. Simultaneously, dental care at home has become a common trend, thanks to its convenience and quick results. Teeth whitening products, electric toothbrushes and mouthwash agents have gained popularity amongst the American public. Before using the products, it is critical to educate yourself on the safety of these products and their effects on teeth sensitivity, an ailment that often goes undetected and unaddressed.
Identifying Dentinal Hypersensitivity
The primary symptom of teeth sensitivity is sudden and sharp pain in the teeth and gums on consuming food substances that are extremely cold, such as ice cream, or extremely warm, like hot chocolate. Unfortunately, these symptoms are a reason why people seem to avoid consulting dentists for the problem. The majority of people with sensitive teeth seem to be under the impression that the pain is a result of extreme temperatures rather than an underlying problem with their teeth. As a result, many patients have a tendency to brush the issue off lightly.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity
The main reason behind hypersensitivity is the wearing down of enamel, a tooth’s outermost, protective layer. This degeneration exposes the softer dentin and cementum material underneath. These parts lack the tough resilience of enamel and can also be exposed by the recession of soft gum tissue that surrounds the teeth. Wear and tear of enamel is directly linked to poor oral hygiene, not brushing teeth regularly and excessive consumption of sweet, acidic and citrus food items such as candy and soda.
The Home Dental Care Trend
One of the most noticeable developments in dental hygiene over the last few years is the rise of ‘do it yourself’ dental hygiene and home dental care. A wide range of products and services that implement the latest technology is available for delivery on major e-commerce platforms. Products such as electric toothbrushes, bleaching gels and whitening strips have made it convenient for customers to address their dental care and oral hygiene needs themselves.
Along with the success of the home dental care trend, numerous questions about the effectiveness and efficiency of the products have also come up.
Teeth Whitening Products
Teeth whitening products such as strips, pens and gels are an integral part of dental care at home. They are affordable, easy to use and are short-term use products that provide evident results quickly. These products use whitening agents, usually peroxide, to act on the teeth and remove stains and yellow discolouration. It is important to note that teeth whitening and bleaching agents do not clean the very insides of your teeth. These substances act at the surface-level and the outsides of the teeth. Multiple studies have been conducted to examine the effect of these chemical substances on the teeth and their effect on sensitive teeth in particular. It is prudent to exercise caution while using teeth whitening products as –
- Some teeth whitening products penetrate the enamel to work. In the long-term, excessive use of teeth whitening products may contribute to the slow recession of the enamel layer and contribute towards increasing teeth sensitivity.
- Many teeth whitening strips and gels are based on activated charcoal. While it is an undeniably effective material, unregulated and unnecessarily frequent use of activated charcoal products could have an adverse effect on the outer layer of your teeth.
- Teeth whitening products are meant to be used for 15-30 minutes and not on a daily basis over an extended period. Too much of a good thing is not good and using these products for too long, too often could negatively impact your teeth.
It is essential to keep in mind that teeth whitening products are put through rigorous testing and can be used by people with sensitive teeth, as long as they are used correctly.
The effects of other Dental Care Products
Dental care at home is not limited to teeth whitening products. While those products serve towards improving appearance and shine of teeth, other devices such as electric toothbrushes and mouth guards contribute towards protecting teeth and maintaining oral hygiene. Like teeth whitening agents, the safety of users is paramount while designing these products. They too are tested thoroughly and can be used by people with dentinal hypersensitivity.
If you have Sensitive Teeth, it is important too:
- Consult your dentist before purchasing and using devices such as mouth guards and electric toothbrushes.
- Ensure that you use a device that is suited to your requirements, mouth size, shape and teeth. In the case of mouthguards, it is recommended to get a custom made device.
- Electric toothbrushes use ultrasonic vibrations to clean teeth. Check with your dentist beforehand in case you suffer from dentinal hypersensitivity.
In conclusion, while dental care products are designed while keeping the safety of consumers in mind and can be used by everyone, it is important to use them the right way. Follow the instructions and do not use these products more than necessary, even if your teeth are in perfect condition. Practising dental care and oral hygiene at home does not mean you do not need to visit the dentist. Frequent appointments with your dentist at regular intervals are advisable. If you feel any unnatural discomfort and pain in your teeth, do not hesitate to seek medical help. Do not let teeth sensitivity go unaddressed.
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