Tag Archive - tooth sensitivity

What do toothpastes like Sensodyne do that regular toothpastes do not?

Ever wonder what is the difference between regular toothpastes and those senso-toothpastes? What do they do and why are they more expensive? Are they meant for old people? or sick people?

The short answer – those toothpastes are meant for sensitive teeth.

Tooth sensitivity is experienced during the intake of cold or hot beverages. At times a sudden blast of air or chewing on something sweet can also trigger this sensitivity. This is caused by the movement of fluid within tiny tubules present in the layer of the tooth called dentin. Ideally these are protected from the changes inside the mouth by the outermost layer of the tooth called enamel. But when the enamel gets worn away, the inner layer (dentin) gets exposed. Enamel can get worn away due to improper brushing, demineralization by acidic foods, cavities and abnormal grinding forces on the teeth. Regurgitation from the stomach or constant vomiting, as seen in bulimia, can also result in wearing away of the enamel since the tooth comes in contact with the stomach acids. Sometimes, bleaching the teeth can trigger sensitivity.

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Grinding teeth: Stop taking it out on your teeth

Grinding teeth is an involuntary habit that involves excessive clenching, to the point where teeth begin to show signs of damage. Grinding teeth, or bruxism as it is known, is a quite common problem that you may not be aware of, simply because it may be happening when you are sleeping. Mostly, you never notice until someone else actually overhears you grinding your teeth. It can occur due to a couple of reasons, including:

  • Stressful lifestyles. Most people clench their fists when stressed out or angry. But some clench the jaw muscles, unknowingly grinding their teeth.
  • Weird habits like biting on the end of a pencil or excessive chewing of gum can cause damage. Some people mimic rhythm instruments by clicking teeth. Such habits would have originated during childhood or adolescence. It becomes second nature over a period of time and teeth grinding continues, even without the gum or pencil.
  • Nervousness can also cause grinding of the teeth in some cases.

So how do you recognize bruxism? The tooth, being chewed on excessively, will be worn out.
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Conspiracy theory: why we brush our teeth?

Our mouths are a natural home to millions of bacteria. These normally do not pose a problem, until one eats. What happens then is a long story.

First the bacteria start breaking down these food particles, sticking to our teeth. This leads to the formation of a thin film called Plaque (not visible to the naked eye). Plaque disclosing solutions are available in some pharmacies which will colour the plaque. This is help you know how efficient your brushing is.

Our saliva carries buffers, which maintains the pH in the oral cavity. Once plaque forms, saliva is unable to reach those areas of the tooth. As a result of the breakdown of food particles by bacteria, acids are formed, which will act on your teeth breaking down its structure. You end up with tooth cavities, which in turn, aid in lodging more food particles…and more break down by bacteria…..the process continues.

Tartar is what forms on your teeth over a period of time due to improper brushing. The plaque, when left overnight and then not removed by proper brushing, hardens and becomes calculus. Calculus by nature has a rough surface, and so indirectly it lodges more food (repeating the whole process over again). The resulting bacterial action in turn releases toxins causing the irritation & inflammation of the nearby gums (gingivitis)‚Äč. At this stage if you get a professional cleaning (scaling) done by a dentist or a dental hygienist, it should reduce the inflammation. But you would still need to maintain the health of your gums by proper brushing.