Warm weather is coming and it's time to enjoy some cold treats. If the thought of popsicles, snow cones and ice cream make you wince or whimper, you probably have sensitive teeth and may need to do a little protective work on the dentin of your teeth. This area of the tooth is the really sensitive tooth tissue along the gum line.
Dentin is the portion at the base of your teeth that's usually covered by healthy gum tissue. If you have any gum inflammation or infection, the dentin of your tooth will become exposed, leaving nerves at risk of cold summer treats, hot coffee, ice water or anything else best served at an extreme temperature.
Tooth sensitivity is not necessarily a sign of decay, but it can be a sign of vulnerability. You can strengthen this layer of your teeth with fluoride rinses, desensitizing toothpaste and regular, gentle brushing.
You may think that what your teeth really need is a good scrubbing, but regular harsh brushing can actually weaken tooth enamel and lead to more sensitivity. Do brush thoroughly, but don't use harsh brushes or a lot of force. You can clean your teeth and be kind to your gums at the same time.
Finally, consider taking a break from tooth whitening products. As these strip stains from teeth, they can ultimately weaken your enamel and lead to greater sensitivity.
Acidic beverages such as coffee, tea and soda are hard on your teeth. While none of these will cause the same sting as ice cream, they may be making your favorite cup of ice cream harder to enjoy.
If the idea of giving up your daily dose of coffee or tea makes your head hurt worse than your teeth, try rinsing your mouth every time you finish a cup of any highly acidic beverage to reduce damage along the gum line.
Don't try to eat cones. Your teeth will hurt and you'll have sticky hands. Try taking little bites of the ice cream. Let it melt away from the whole and scoop it up as it runs down the outside of the cold mound in the middle. Consider adding a little hot fudge. Then as soon as you've finished your treat, brush thoroughly!
And don't forget to floss before bed!