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March 3, 2014 – Many in St. Augustine suffer from tooth sensitivity. It can ruin your favorite drink or bowl of ice cream. It can even cause you to brush less frequently. Fortunately, there is help for you. There are different ways to treat the problem of tooth sensitivity, and your World Golf Village dentist may just have the answer. As with any problem, there are multiple causes of tooth sensitivity. And like any fix, there are multiple ways to address the issue: anything from a “band-aid” to outright fixing the problem. The most important step is to know why you have the problem and it is always advisable to let your World Golf Village dentist diagnose the issue.

One of the easiest causes of tooth sensitivity to fix comes from foods that cause erosion of teeth. Citrus — oranges, limes, lemons, etc. — in particular have citric acid in them. Like any acid, it will dissolve what it sits on, given enough time. As we live in Florida, you can’t give up your citrus. So, try drinking water after having any citrus. This will flush the acid off of your tooth, and you can continue to enjoy the foods you love. It is not recommended to brush your teeth immediately after eating citrus fruits. Your tooth can be in a compromised state, and you do not want any more of the tooth disappearing.

Some sensitivity can simply be from brushing too hard. Fortunately, there is an easy fix for that. Just make sure you are using a soft bristle toothbrush and only American Dental Association®-approved toothpastes to brush your teeth. Anything else may be too abrasive and cause your gums to recede, but not wear away the tooth like has been suggested in the past. When the gums recede, the root surface of the tooth can react negatively to cold. If you find this problem persisting, you can do two things: read a news article about the new Oral B Toothbrush with an app that TELLS you you are brushing too hard, and go in and see your World Golf Village dentist.

However, there are deeper issues that can cause tooth sensitivity and ones that are harder to treat. Clenching and grinding is one of them. Many who suffer from clenching and grinding in St. Augustine do not even know they do it, because most clench and grind in their sleep. There are signs that you do it that can be readily apparent. As you look in the mirror, do you have any chips or cracks on your front teeth? Do you typically have dental fillings or dental crowns break? Do you have areas right along your gums that have missing parts of the tooth? These are all signs of clenching and grinding on your teeth. Some symptoms you may experience from clenching and grinding are frequent headaches, migraines, neck pain, back pain, and trouble sleeping. All these signs and symptoms can lead to more time in the dental chair, which no one wants.

Clenching and grinding is very common and has many different causes. Yes, stress is one of them, but stress typically causes more acute or short-term problems. Or it simply exacerbates an existing problem. True clenching and grinding is a destructive force, and it is your body’s way of telling you something is not right. These signs and symptoms should not be ignored. The longer someone takes to address them, the harder is to find a fix. The good news is, it can be made right, and there are many options to achieve success. The next step is to see your World Golf Village dentist.

There are a lot of commercials for fixing sensitivity with toothpastes, and they do have their place in the fight against tooth sensitivity, but if you never address the root cause, clenching and grinding, then the problem will only get worse and harder to fix. The toothpastes should be used in conjunction with healing, not hiding the cause of tooth sensitivity. If you kept breaking your arm from being pushed down, you would not keep getting a cast, you would stop the bully who keeps pushing you down! So, stop the bully, and in this case, it’s you! Stop beating yourself up and go see your World Golf Village dentist and get more than a “band-aid” — get help.

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