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The other day, the weather in my neck of the woods reached 100 degrees. I thought, “What a perfect time for a nice, cold, ice creamy treat.”

I said, “Good idea, brain!” and went to my freezer, pulled out an ice-cold Klondike bar and bit in to that sucker with wild abandon.

Unfortunately, instead of tasting the refreshing coolness of ice cream and chocolate, I felt the knee buckling pain of sensitive teeth!

For anyone who has felt this searing pain, you have learned to stay away from anything cold, like a little kid who has just found out that touching a stove is a bad idea. However, I am not one to give up (or I don’t learn as quickly as a three year old) and I took another bite thinking this was a one time medical issue and I’m sure it has gone away by now.

Nope.

Searing pain…again…

In that moment (a moment of pain and the fear that I might have to give up my unabashed addiction to any and all things ice cream) I decided to fix what seemed to be and oncoming issue with sensitive teeth. (Please note: I’m writing this to tell the story of what I went through to help my teeth. If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity or pain, see a dentist!)

First, I explored what causes sensitive teeth. Thank you WebMD:

Sensitive teeth occur when the underlying layer of your teeth, the dentin, becomes exposed as a result of receding gum tissue. The roots, which are not covered by hard enamel, contain thousands of tiny tubules leading to the tooth’s nerve center. These dentinal tubules, or channels, allow the stimuli — for example, the hot, cold, or sweet food — to reach the nerve in your tooth, which results in the pain you feel.

In other words: I have exposed nerve endings in my teeth and they are not happy.

There are many factors that may lead to sensitive teeth, including:

  • Brushing too hard
  • Hard Bristled Toothbrush
  • Tooth decay near the gum line
  • Recession of the gums
  • Gum disease (gingivitis)
  • Cracked teeth
  • Teeth grinding  
  • Tooth whitening products
  • Your age – Tooth sensitivity is highest between the ages of 25 and 30.
  • Plaque build-up
  • Mouthwash use
  • Acidic foods
  • Recent routine dental procedures

The first two reasons seem to be the most obvious culprits for my sensitivity. My wife has told me that I brush, somewhat aggressively and I have come to find out that I have a medium-bristled toothbrush. A double whammy when it comes to sensitive teeth. I have also had some recent dental procedures done. This could be my answer (I’d like to think it was the age factor but I am not between the ages of 25 and 30. Still, my sensitive teeth are starting to make me feel good about myself. Not good enough to make me give up ice cream, mind you).

So what can I do to cure my ailing teeth? What would I do without you, WebMD:

Some steps you can take to prevent tooth sensitivity include:

  • Maintain good oral hygiene.
  • Use a soft bristled toothbrush
  • Use desensitizing toothpaste
  • Watch what you eat
  • Use fluoridated dental products
  • Avoid teeth grinding
  • See your dentist at regular intervals

Since my Klondike incident, I have switched to a soft bristle toothbrush and have started using a desensitizing toothpaste. I have even made an appointment to see my dentist, upping my one check up a year, to two (I would like to say I watch what I eat but most of my food watching occurs as the fork is entering my mouth).

So far, all my dental habit changes have been for the better. I have no pain in my teeth and I can eat as much ice cream as I want… Much to the chagrin of my growing waistline.

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