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Home Care Awareness: Tooth Sensitivity

Home Care in Newton, MA

Elderly woman holding toothbrushNothing ruins indulging in a bowl of ice cream or a cup of hot chocolate quite like sudden sharp pain shooting through your teeth. Tooth sensitivity can be an annoying and extremely uncomfortable condition that leads to pain when you brush your teeth, floss, eat or drink hot, cold, acidic, sweet, or sour foods, or expose your teeth to air. This can diminish your quality of life by creating serious pain and lingering discomfort, but if tooth sensitivity is part of your senior care journey with your aging loved ones, there are things that you can do to help ease the symptoms and possibly even prevent them from happening.

While there are many different things that can cause teeth to be sensitive and to cause pain and discomfort when exposed to these influences, some of the most common include:

  • Worn or damaged tooth enamel
  • Exposure of the tooth roots
  • Cracks in the surface of the teeth
  • Chips in the teeth
  • Cavities
  • Recent dental work such as a replaced filling or crown
  • Side effect of procedures such as whitening

The most important first step if your aging parents are dealing with tooth sensitivity is to see their dentist. While the cause of the pain and discomfort could be a simple matter that requires only lifestyle changes to address, more serious issues could require extensive treatment to ensure that no further damage occurs. This further damage could lead to serious tooth decay, infections, and other problems that could be avoided with early detection and prompt intervention. To prepare for your parents’ appointment to discuss their tooth sensitivity with their dentist, keep track of their symptoms for a couple of weeks. Write down everything that your parents eat or drink and if they experience any type of sensitivity related to those foods and beverages, and whether they experience sensitivity when exposed to other influences. Also take note of how long the pain lasts and what they usually do to get rid of the pain so that you can provide all of this information to the dentist to help him evaluate your parents thoroughly and come up with the proper diagnosis for their needs.

Depending on their diagnosis, some of the ways that you and your parents’ non-medical caregiver can help your parents deal with tooth sensitivity include:

  • Choose the right toothbrush. A toothbrush with bristles that are too hard could further damage enamel that is already soft or sensitive. Try replacing the toothbrush with one that has bristles that are softer but still firmly packed enough to effectively remove debris from the teeth
  • Choose the right toothpaste. Look for a toothpaste that is specifically formulated for sensitive teeth. These toothpastes often contain ingredients meant to desensitize the teeth and do not contain harsh abrasives that can make enamel damage worse
  • Avoid triggers. It may be unpleasant, but avoiding foods and beverages that cause serious symptoms is worth it when you can avoid the lingering pain and discomfort of sensitivity. Try taking the edge off of the trigger by allowing very hot foods and beverages to cool slightly and warming up very cold foods and beverages. If you are going out into the cold, cover your mouth with a scarf or shirt to avoid painful exposure.


If you or an aging loved one are considering non-medical in-home care in Metrowest Boston, MA, call Griswold Home Care and speak to one of our caring staff members today. Call (781) 559-0073