For many people, having sensitive teeth can make it very difficult to enjoy some of the foods most of us love. Eating foods that are cold, such as ice cream, or drinking hot tea or coffee can cause individuals with sensitive teeth to wince in pain, but why does this happen?
Tooth sensitivity is caused when the layer underneath a tooth’s enamel, called dentin, becomes exposed. The dentin layer contains many small passageways that are filled with nerve endings, which is why eating or drinking anything that’s hot, cold or sweet can cause pain. However, tooth sensitivity is treatable. By following instructions provided by dental health professionals, people who suffer from sensitive teeth can rebuild their protective layers of tooth enamel, or at least prevent them from eroding any further.
If you’re planning to become a dental hygienist, you will soon be responsible for helping educate patients on proper dental care practices.
Read on to learn about a few of the most common causes of tooth sensitivity, and find out how you can help patients to prevent the issue from getting worse.
Pros with Dental Hygienist Training Know Aggressive Brushing Causes Sensitivity
Tooth sensitivity is often caused by using the wrong type of toothbrush or having a poor brushing technique. Experts know that when people brush too hard, or use a hard-bristled toothbrush, they can gradually wear away their teeth’s protective layer of enamel over time.
During dental hygienist training, you’ll learn how to demonstrate proper brushing techniques to patients, which typically involves using gentler circular movements to get teeth clean. Another simple solution is to recommend that patients with sensitive teeth switch to a toothbrush that has soft bristles. A�
Dental Hygienists Can Steer Patients Away from Whitening Toothpastes
Whitening toothpastes offer people the chance to have whiter, brighter smiles, but what most people don’t know is that a lot of whitening toothpastes on the market contain ingredients that can eat away tooth enamel.
If you find out that patients with sensitive teeth are using whitening toothpaste throughout your career, you might want to recommend that they switch brands. There are enamel building toothpastes on the market that can rebuild the strength of their teeth over time, or they can choose to use whitening toothpaste that contains natural ingredients, like baking soda.
Dental Hygienist Training Teaches the Dangers of Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
When people grind their teeth they wear away at their tooth enamel, causing tooth sensitivity and other potential issues like headaches and jaw pain. Dental Hygiene courses will teach you how to communicate with patients and get to know their dental care habits, so you’ll have the opportunity to talk with patients to find out the severity of their teeth grinding (or bruxism). Some people break down tooth enamel by grinding their teeth during the day, while others do it in their sleep.
In either case, a great solution would be talk to the dentist about fitting the patient for a mouth guard. Fitted mouth guards go over the teeth to hold the jaw comfortably in place to prevent grinding. They’re typically worn overnight, but there are models available for daytime use as well.
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