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Prevention and Treatment of Sensitive Teeth

"Studies indicate that between 40 and 60 million Americans complain of having sensitive teeth. the culprit is usually overzealous brushing which gradually wears away gum tissue and exposes tooth roots."

Dr. Walter Cohen, D.D.S., Dean Emeritus,
University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine,
Shape Magazine, August 1995

If you experience pain or discomfort after eating cold foods you may be one of the millions of people who suffer from tooth sensitivity (dentin hypersensitivity).

Tooth sensitivity (dentin hypersensitivity) can make enjoying your favorite foods nearly impossible. People suffering from tooth sensitivity can experience pain or discomfort from many sources including breathing cold air, eating or drinking hot or cold foods, eating sweet or sour foods, and from a host of other stimuli.

Surprisingly one of the major causes of tooth sensitivity is overzealous brushing (brushing too hard) ! Just under the surface of each tooth lies a layer of tooth called the dentin. The dentin contains small pores or tubules which lead directly to the nerve of the tooth. Normally the gums and the outmost cementum layer of tooth cover the dentin preventing stimuli from reaching these tubules.

Brushing too hard drives away the protective gum tissue and the cementum tooth layer exposing the underlying dentin. When this happens pain, pressure, and cold stimuli can travel down the tubules of the dentin and trigger the tooth nerve causing pain and discomfort.

The first step to preventing tooth sensitivity is to prevent recession of the gums and cementum. The Alert toothbrush helps prevent overzealous brushing which leads to destruction of gums and cementum thus preventing associated tooth sensitivity.

Once sensitivity has occurred, special toothpastes can help ease the discomfort. Several of these create "hatch covers" which cover the tubules in the exposed dentin preventing pain and cold stimuli from reaching and triggering the tooth nerve.

These products can fail, however, because the the same heavy handed brushing techniques, which exposed the tubules of the dentin in the first place, remove the "hatch covers" allowing stimuli to once again reach and travel down the pores of the dentin.

By using the Alert toothbrush in combination with these sensitivity toothpastes, sufferers of sensitive teeth can assure more complete benefit from the toothpastes and also prevent gum recession that can lead to tooth sensitivity in other areas of the mouth.