Should you use a special toothbrush?

Should you use a special toothbrush?

Brushing your teeth at least two to three times a day is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, for individuals with sensitive teeth, brushing their teeth can be an unpleasant experience without special toothpaste. My teeth used to be sooo sensitive that no toothpaste on the planet made my teeth feel better. That’s why I created Simply Silver Toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Since you only have one coating of enamel, it’s important to protect it so I always recommend using a toothpaste with a low RDA value. Having sensitive teeth is the number one concern I hear about on a daily basis as a practicing dental hygienist.

Symptoms of Sensitive Teeth

One of the first things to think about when deciding which toothpaste to use is to determine whether or not your particular symptoms are due to root exposure or another cause. Many issues may not be treatable with special toothpaste and can cause pain or discomfort around your teeth or gums. These issues include infections, malnourishment, oral diseases such as gingivitis, malocclusion and more.

It’s important to note that sensitive teeth tend to result in symptoms that occur most noticeably when triggered by outside events such as breathing in cold air, eating sweets, or sensitivity when brushing. Here are some symptoms to look for when attempting to discern whether or not symptoms are due to sensitive teeth or a more serious issue such as a cavity that has affected the nerve.

Tooth Discomfort Caused by Temperature Changes

One of the most common symptoms of tooth sensitivity is when the teeth are hypersensitive to temperature. It’s “normal” for teeth to be sensitive to cold or sweets, but not heat. Children that have newly erupted permanent teeth can be sensitive because the pulp chamber (blood supply inside the tooth) is very large. As you age, that chamber gets smaller so teeth can become less sensitive as a young adult. Teeth that are sensitive to cold can also be dealing with root exposure from either clenching or grinding your teeth, brushing too hard or malocclusion (teeth that aren’t aligned properly). A sign that the nerve in the tooth is going bad is when there is heat sensitivity. A tooth should never be hot sensitive.

Spending time in a cold environment and breathing cold air can also trigger temperature-related teeth sensitivity symptoms. This often-overlooked trigger can be a source of constant pain in areas with colder climates. Personally, my teeth were so sensitive I could feel the wind change direction…not fun!

Causes of Sensitive Teeth

Teeth sensitivity is typically caused by the weakening and thinning of teeth enamel, which is the outermost layer of a tooth. This layer is normally there to act as protection for the sensitive dentin that lies underneath. Over time, enamel can become worn down by a variety of causes. Enamel is extremely important because it is something that cannot regrow. You can REMINERALIZE enamel, but not regrow it. Keep in mind since enamel has no feeling, you will never “feel” a cavity until it hits the nerve of the tooth. Once the cavity penetrates the enamel, the inner layer of the tooth is called the dentin. This is where you have little tiny tubules that conduct temperature sensitivity because there are openings on the root surface of the tooth. Using abrasive toothpaste keeps these tubules open so that’s why teeth can remain sensitive. Using a sensitive toothpaste can “close” those tubules and seal them off to temperature sensitivity and even brushing. Brushing too hard often creates the root to be exposed which is also known as gum recession. However, grinding your teeth (bruxism) and having a poor bite can cause “abfractions,” which are on the root surface and occur when the force generated by chewing causes stress to concentrate on certain points of a tooth. This stress results in tooth flexure and leads to the eventual breaking away of hard tissue. It actually looks like a V shape so instead of your gum hugging the tooth like it’s supposed to, now the root is exposed. Every time you use an abrasive toothpaste, it’s like using liquid sandpaper to brush your teeth so I highly recommend using a toothpaste made for sensitive teeth. Here are some common causes to consider when determining whether or not you need special toothpaste for sensitive teeth.

Brushing Too Hard

Many people consider brushing their teeth a simple act that requires little to no thought, some call it zombie brushing. However, people who do not brush properly can cause significant damage to their teeth, leading to increased tooth sensitivity.

Using a hard-bristled brush and brushing back and forth are common reasons why many people find themselves inadvertently brushing their teeth too hard. Such techniques wear away tooth enamel and cause gums to recede, exposing a tooth's more sensitive root. To avoid these issues, it’s best to use an electric toothbrush as it takes the “scrubbing motion” away. All you need to do is to place the soft-bristled brush at a 45 degree angle into the gum. If you are somehow able to not use your manual toothbrush as a weapon, then make sure you brush in a circular motion.

Unhealthy Foods and Drinks

Unhealthy foods, simple carbohydrates, phytic acids (found in nuts) and acidic drinks are a well-known cause of tooth decay. This issue is especially prevalent among those who drink soda, energy drinks, or flavored waters but also in people that have a dry mouth or swish with commercial mouthwash. What’s most important is keeping a healthy pH level inside your mouth. If your saliva drops below a 5.5, that’s how you can get a cavity. Plaque (part of everyone’s saliva) plus sugar, form an acid and that acid eats away at your tooth enamel. Keeping your saliva a 6 or above will eliminate the streptococcus mutans bacteria that thrives in an acidic environment. Disease thrives in acid so alkalining your mouth is essential for overall health.

In addition, because these harmful substances are delivered mainly in liquid form, they can easily find their way into cracks, pits and fissures, and any pockets at the gumline. Once there, these substances can settle and build-up, resulting in tooth damage and sensitivity issues at an accelerated rate.

Tooth Damage

Another cause of tooth sensitivity is damage to the tooth caused by either periodontal disease or a cracked tooth. Mercury fillings (aka silver fillings), are notorious for cracking and leaking. That’s because every time you eat or drink something that’s either hot or cold, your tooth is expanding and contracting. This can create cracks in the enamel. If the filling is too large, now you will need a zirconia or porcelain crown to cover the tooth and protect it from breaking at the gumline or fracturing in half. However, most people actually lose their teeth from gum disease (periodontitis), so losing the bone that’s holding your teeth in place will make your teeth more sensitive because your bone is receding. This gives people the “long in the tooth” look.

The Disadvantages of Traditional Toothpaste

Many people with sensitive teeth continue to use traditional toothpaste because they believe special toothpaste such as natural toothpaste is less effective or tastes “weird” and doesn’t foam. Others continue to use traditional toothpaste because they believe that, while it doesn't help alleviate the symptoms of sensitive teeth, it does no harm either. Some habits are hard to break because they’ve been doing it their whole life. Unfortunately, this can be detrimental to your teeth. Also, fads such as brushing your teeth with charcoal or clays are terrible for your enamel and there are no long-term studies proving it’s safety on enamel. Regardless of the reason, if you've established that you have sensitive teeth, continuing to use traditional toothpaste may be doing more harm than good.

Harsh Ingredients

Traditional toothpaste often includes a lot of harsh chemicals and substances that can cause further discomfort or pain because of irritating the tubules in the root surface. Another no-no ingredient for those suffering with sensitivity is hydrated silica (think sand as it’s highly abrasive).

Also, excessive amounts of fluoride (a labeled poison) found in most toothpaste can cause bone disease, thyroid problems, reduced IQ, weak teeth and other issues. Triclosan, another chemical found in traditional toothpaste, is a known hormone disruptor used in cleaning products, and sodium laurel sulfate, which causes toothpaste to foam, is a detergent. These types of chemicals are allowed in commercial oral care products because of falling into the “cosmetic” category. Remember that your mouth is THE most vascular part of your body so whatever you stick in your mouth does end up in your bloodstream.

Highly Abrasive

Another disadvantage associated with traditional toothpaste is its high level of abrasiveness. Toothpaste is designed to have a certain amount of abrasiveness so that it can remove harmful bacteria, food, and other substances from the teeth but remember to keep the RDA value below a 70 if possible and certainly not above an 80. Sandpaper is 269 and some of the commercial whitening toothpastes are around 200…yikes! I once had a patient tell me that they brushed with Comet…apparently the skull and cross bones warning label wasn’t a deterrent but desperate people sometimes do desperate things. However, many traditional toothpaste brands are so abrasive that they can wear away tooth enamel and cause gums to recede. In individuals with tooth sensitivity, these harmful effects can accelerate and worsen tooth damage causing increased tooth sensitivity, discomfort, and pain.

Why Natural Toothpaste is the Best Solution for Sensitive Teeth

As tooth sensitivity issues have become more and more prevalent, those with sensitive teeth have been forced to search for a solution. Fortunately, natural toothpaste-sensitive teeth products have emerged as a popular solution to sensitive teeth issues. Such toothpaste is deliberately designed to avoid and overcome many of the shortcomings of traditional toothpaste. Here are the various advantages of toothpaste with natural qualities that make it a superior choice for those with sensitive teeth.

Gentle Ingredients

Natural or organic toothpaste contains gentle ingredients that do not cause harm to a person's teeth or throughout the body. Because these ingredients are gentle on teeth, those with sensitive teeth can enjoy less discomfort, pain, and other issues that can often be caused by harsh toothpaste ingredients.

The use of natural ingredients in these kinds of toothpaste also makes it so that these kinds of toothpaste are safe to ingest and can be freely absorbed by the gums with no consequence. Those using the toothpaste won't have to worry about finding the same list of ingredients in their toothpaste as they see on the label of their household cleaning supplies. Specifically, our mint and cinnamon toothpaste use Arginine for a natural alternative to fluoride or potassium nitrate as it’s super effective in reducing symptoms for sensitive teeth fast.

Low Abrasiveness

Natural or organic toothpaste is also typically designed to be less abrasive than traditional toothpaste. This quality is due to the use of a selection of carefully chosen ingredients featured in these types of toothpaste. These ingredients are chosen to create a toothpaste that avoid worsening the effects of enamel and gum wear, reducing instances of tooth sensitivity, discomfort, and pain.

Reinforces Teeth

One particularly unique and helpful advantage of natural or organic toothpaste is the inclusion of ingredients that fight off and even reverse some of the harmful effects of tooth sensitivity.

An ingredient known as hydroxyapatite is included in such toothpaste and can help calm the reaction of the nerves inside of a sensitive tooth, reducing symptoms of sensitivity and preventing the sharp jolts of pain often caused by sudden tooth sensitivity triggers. Also, as previously mentioned, Arginine is also a fantastic natural alternative with scientific studies backing it’s relief for sensitive teeth.

It's clear that there are many things to consider when it comes to determining the nature of your tooth sensitivity and whether or not you need special toothpaste for your sensitivity issues. However, there's no doubt that for those suffering from tooth sensitivity issues, natural toothpaste-sensitive teeth products are the best choice. Fortunately, we provide the best natural toothpaste for your needs. Shop with Simply Silver Mouthwash today and pick out your ideal toothpaste solution from our incredible selection!

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