Tips for Treating Sensitive Teeth

If you have sensitive teeth, it can really take the joy out of your daily life. From passing up your favorite foods like hot coffee and ice cream to experiencing discomfort during hot or cold weather, sensitive teeth affect more than just your mouth. This condition can really affect your mood too. But thankfully you don’t have to simply accept the discomfort and inconvenience of sensitive teeth. Here are some lifestyle changes you can make that may go a long way toward lessening the pain of sensitive teeth, so you can get back to enjoying the foods and activities you love without the sensitivity!

Change How You Brush

Yes, there is a wrong way and a right way to brush your teeth. If you are brushing your teeth too hard, brushing your gums, or brushing back and forth, you could be harming the gums and causing gum recession. Gum recession in turn can cause – you guessed it – sensitive teeth. If this sounds like how you’re brushing, try this instead: Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle and brush in small circular motions. If you need a demo, ask Dr. Lesko and her team at your next appointment.

Change What You Brush With

Sometimes we may be brushing the right way, but with the wrong brush. This is an easy fix. Stick with a medium to soft-bristled brush and follow the brushing guidelines above. Save those hard-bristled brushes for your tile grout!

Change Your Toothpaste

If you are experiencing sensitivity but not using a sensitive toothpaste, it may be time to switch. Sensitive toothpaste is made with an ingredient called potassium nitrate, which is used to fill in the tiny pores in the teeth called tubules. These tubules lead to the nerves, so when they’re blocked, you can actually prevent hot and cold foods and air from reaching those nerves. It’s kind of like how the insulation in your walls blocks the outside weather from getting inside your home.

Change Your Diet

While you shouldn’t have to change your diet to accommodate tooth sensitivity, there are certain foods that forgoing may make it easier to live life pain free. Foods that are high in acid such as citrus and soda or foods that are high in sugar may make sensitivity worse, so eliminating these where you can from your diet may enable you to enjoy other foods again.

Ready to make an appointment to talk about your tooth sensitivity? Call Dr. Lesko’s office today at 970-812-0355.

Toothbrushes Causing Trash Crisis

Brushing your teeth. We all do it, and with few exceptions we all do it with the same tool: the toothbrush. Virtually unchanged for centuries, the toothbrush is a convenient and ergonomically designed way to clean the plaque and bacteria that discolors our teeth and causes cavities. But the toothbrush as it stands today has one major flaw that scientists are trying to correct: the trash problem.

It began back in the 1930s with the development of two new materials: plastic and nylon. Toothbrushes, which were a rarity at the time, were still being made with wood. Soon, that wood was replaced by cellulose, and finally plastic with nylon bristles. The plastic and nylon combination proved to be a safe, effective and durable way to clean the teeth – and with time it was relatively affordable, with the price of a brush coming down as plastic became more commonplace.

But all those durable brushes may be a little too durable. Did you know that a recent study found that the average person will use 300 toothbrushes over a lifetime? Or that Americans use so many toothbrushes each year that if laid out, they would wrap around planet Earth four times? That’s a lot of toothbrushes being used – and a lot of toothbrushes being thrown away. In fact, because the materials used to create toothbrushes are unrecyclable and non-biodegradable, according to National Geographic most of the toothbrushes created since the 1930s are probably still around somewhere, whether sitting in a landfill or floating in the ocean, washing ashore onto beaches around the world.

So, what can be done to stop these toothbrushes from clogging landfills and waterways? That’s what scientists are trying to answer.

Dr. Allison Lesko is a dentist based in Fort Collins, Colorado. She said there are already some alternatives to plastic and nylon toothbrushes, but they still have a long way to go toward solving the problem.

“There are bamboo brushes now and even some metal brushes, but they still use nylon bristles,” says Lesko. “They don’t quite go far enough.”

So, what about electric brushes – are they any better?

“Theoretically an electric brush will last longer and stay out of landfills longer, but they still eventually make it to landfills, and they can’t be recycled, either.”

Another problem? They still use plastic and nylon heads that need to be replaced just as often as regular toothbrushes. Though it’s less plastic, scientists are still not satisfied with how much plastic these brush heads leave behind.

So, what can you do to reduce your own toothbrush’s carbon footprint? Dentists like Lesko say swapping to a greener toothbrush such as a bamboo, metal or reusable-handled brush may not go as far as environmentalists want them to yet, but they are still a more viable, greener option than traditional plastic brushes.