Home Care for Sensitive Teeth When You Can’t See Your Dentist
When it comes to preventive oral care, nothing is as useful as regular trips to the dentist. But, during the COVID-19 pandemic, regular dental services have been delayed or canceled. Many of my patients ask what they can do to maintain healthy teeth while waiting to reschedule their regular appointments. Some have very specific concerns like home care for sensitive teeth.
There are proactive steps you can take at home to safeguard your oral health. Here’s a question from one of my patients who has “super-sensitive” teeth.
Hello! My cleaning appointment for this Thursday was postponed. Since my cleanings are so important for my sensitive dental situation, do you have any advice for extra efforts for care during the delay? I still use Sensodyne toothpaste, a Waterpik nightly, and the Glo device every other night. My mouth has generally been feeling more sensitive these days.
Here’s what I recommended to this patient for home care for sensitive teeth:
- Make sure you have a newer toothbrush. When the bristles of the toothbrush begin to fray, they transform from round tips used to massage the gums and clean the tooth into microscopic split ends, which act like mini-razor blades, thereby irritating the gums and cutting into the tooth structure.
- Slow down your brushing. So many patients brush too fast and too hard. Slow down and practice the mini circular movement allowing part of the toothbrush bristles to massage the gum line (think Mr. Miyagi “wax on / wax off” technique. The circular pattern mimics the scalloped architecture of our gums as well as allows the bristles to extend into all the nooks & crannies and whisp out the residual plaque & food debris.
- Brush at least 2-3 times/day for at least 2 minutes each time.
- Sensodyne toothpaste is an excellent way to decrease the risk of decay as well as sensitivity. Remember to spit out the excess toothpaste, but do not rinse it out. Floss after brushing.
- Waterpik nightly is excellent! Remember that adding a bit of Hydrogen Peroxide (approximately 25%) to the well also helps.
- The Eco Balance & Glo help dramatically as well!
- Drink fruit juice, soda, and other sugary drinks sparingly.
- Consume acidic fruits in moderation.
- Reduce the amount of starchy foods you eat. They will stick to your teeth and promote tartar.
- Lastly, try to be mindful of possible clenching and grinding your teeth. It is not uncommon that I see patients with a generalized increase in sensitivity related to a rise in stress. Most often, the tenderness or soreness is related to the secondary stressors from the clenching/grinding.
Note: When Washington, DC went into “lockdown,” we closed our offices for regular dental care. As a health care provider, however, we are able to provide emergency dental care to some patients. We will continue to monitor the latest advisories on the virus and take additional measures, as needed.
Remember, everyone’s health and safety come first.
Dr. Nishan Halim
Nishan Halim, DMD specializes in a comprehensive approach to dental care in his Capitol Hill, Washington DC neighborhood dental center. When treatment plans include specialty work, he coordinates every step with the practitioners you choose from his referral network. Contact Dr. Halim to schedule an appointment.