Do you feel a sharp pain in your teeth when you eat your favourite ice cream, cold drink, or hot coffee? If you just mentally ran through a number of painful eating memories, this is a sign you may be having really sensitive teeth compared to most other people. Tooth sensitivity is a painful dental condition recognised by chronic irritation affecting drinking, eating and breathing. It is an amplified response to external sensory stimuli, which is generally not seen in healthier teeth.1
Tooth sensitivity occurs when the dentine (the layer underneath teeth) gets exposed due to the receding gum tissues (covering of teeth root). The dentine comprises small dentinal tubules or channels. These channels are responsible for transmitting sensations such as cold, hot or sweet that reach the nerve in the teeth, and cause pain. The prevalence of sensitive teeth is highest between the ages of twenty-five and thirty.2
Here are a few natural home remedies for sensitive teeth that you may try in the comfort of your home. Let’s read along to find out more.
What Causes Sensitive Teeth:
Several factors may lead to sensitive teeth including:
- Acidic food: The excess consumption of foods that contain natural acids, such as pickles, tea, tomatoes, citrus fruits, etc., might cause enamel erosion and lead to sensitive teeth.
- Aggressive brushing action: Brushing with too much force or using a hard-bristled toothbrush might tear down tooth enamel (outer covering) and lead to receding gums, causing dentine exposure.
- Plaque buildup: The presence of plaque (sticky deposit) on the root surface might be the reason for your sensitive teeth.
- Receding gums: Due to periodontal diseases, the gum tissues pull away from the teeth, exposing the root surface of the tooth and cause the tooth to become extremely sensitive.
- Routine dental procedures like cleaning of teeth, tooth restoration, root planing, etc may occassionally lead to tooth sensitivity.
- Excessive use of tooth whitening products may cause sensitive teeth.
- Use of toothpaste containing baking soda and peroxide.
- Long-term use of acidic mouth wash
- Gum disease: Inflammation and swelling of gums might cause sensitivity of teeth.
- Cracked or broken teeth might get filled with bacteria causing inflammation and painful, sensitive teeth.2
Symptoms of Sensitive Teeth:
Sensitive teeth are a symptom of oral conditions. You might also experience the following symptoms along with tooth sensitivity:
- A rapid, sharp pain while brushing
- A sensation upon eating something hot, cold, sweet or acidic foods
- Exposure to cold air1
Home Remedies for Sensitive Teeth:
Some home remedies for sensitive teeth that you may try at home are described as follow.
1. Aloe vera
Aloe vera may provide pain relief in case of tooth sensitivity. It may have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activity due to an active compound it contains called anthraquinone. Aloe vera gel may be used to make tooth gel. It may be used to cleanse the teeth and gums and might show a good effect as toothpaste.
Aloe vera gel does not contain abrasives (polishing material) found in most toothpastes; hence, it may be less harsh and cause less damage to the teeth. Aloe vera may be a good option for people having sensitive teeth or gums.3
You may use aloe vera as a natural home remedy for sensitive teeth. All you need is some fresh aloe vera leaves. Thoroughly rinse them with water and, using a knife remove the peel. Next, take a small spoon to scoop out the colourless gel, put it in a blender and mix it for a few seconds to prepare a frothy liquid. Apply this to the sensitive area of teeth or use it to gargle.
2. Sesame oil
Sesame oil may be used for immediate relief in case of sensitive teeth. Oil pulling therapy is an alternative medical procedure as a traditional Indian folk remedy for strengthening gums and teeth. It involves swishing (moving around) edible oil in the mouth to maintain oral hygiene. Sesame oil may be used in oil pulling therapy.4
You can take a tablespoon of sesame oil, sip it, and suck it between the teeth for a few mins. The oil will look milky white and quite thin. Don’t swallow the oil because it contains toxins and bacteria. This therapy should be done on an empty stomach in the morning and after that, brushing of teeth is essential to get rid of excess oil.4
3. Clove oil
Clove contains bioactive components such as volatile oil and tannins. These bioactive chemicals may have beneficial properties like anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activities. The volatile oil present in cloves might be used as an analgesic (pain killer) for sensitive teeth (dentine).3
You can use a whole clove. Place the clove directly onto the painful tooth. Then, by closingthe mouth, crush it between upper and lower teeth. Alternatively, you may also make a paste of cloves by grinding some cloves together. Next, add a few drops of olive oil or water, stir it well and apply this paste to the sensitive tooth. It may provide some temporary relief for tooth sensitivity.
Garlic may have antimicrobial activity. It may also show a bacteriostatic effect (stops the growth of bacteria) and act as a natural antibiotic. These beneficial properties of garlic may be contributed by the bioactive constituents such as flavonoids, alkaloids, saponins, steroids and lipids. Hence, garlic may be used for managing dental plaque.3
You can make a mixture of garlic by crushing it with a little bit of salt. Then, apply it to the affected tooth; it might help minimise the pain.
5. Peppermint oil
Peppermint contains a bioactive volatile oil called menthol. This essential oil may have antibacterial as well as an antifungal activity which might help limit the growth of bacteria forming in the dental plaque.3
You can make peppermint decoction (solution) using dried leaves of peppermint. Add them to a hot cup of water and allow them to steep for a few minutes. Let it cool and use it to swish (move) around in the mouth. Then spit it out and do this a couple of times to see the results. You can also use a slightly warmer peppermint tea bag. Hold it against the tooth for longer until the pain subsides.
Turmeric contains tarmins which might be responsible for antibacterial and antiseptic properties. In addition, it might be useful to manage dental plaque that causes sensitive teeth problems.3
You can easily make a turmeric paste by adding a teaspoon of turmeric powder into a small dish and enough water to make a thick paste. Then use this paste directly on the sensitive tooth; wait for a few mins and then rinse. Stick to this routine for a few days and see the results.
The neem tree contains a bioactive chemical, terpenoids. It may have anti-inflammatory and antipyretic (pain-relieving) effects. Hence, it might be beneficial for managing swollen gums and other problems resulting from gum disease.3
You can make neem powder by grinding dried neem leaves. Then, add one teaspoon of this mixture with baking soda into the water to make a paste. Use this paste as a toothpaste and brush your teeth with it. It may help relieve the pain.
8. Mustard twigs
Mustard tree is also called miswaak or toothbrush tree. It contains essential volatile oils, alkaloids, tannins, terpenoids and flavonoids. It may have antimicrobial properties and has been used as a traditional oral hygiene aid. It might help limit microbial growth, managing sensitive teeth problems.3
Miswaak is a chewing stick made from the roots and stems of a mustard tree. You may use miswaak as one of the home remedies for sensitive teeth.
9. Bloodwort tea
Bloodwort is also known as bloodroot. It may have antiplaque and antibacterial properties. The beneficial properties of bloodwort roots may be owing to its bioactive compound called sanguinarine alkaloid.3 Hence, it might be useful for reducing dental plaque formation that causes sensitive teeth. Bloodwort tea may be used for sensitive teeth. Boil one teaspoon of roots in one cup of water and allow it to steep for a few minutes. Drink this tea three times a day. Bloodwort tea might be one of the useful sensitive teeth remedies.
10. Lifestyle changes
A lifestyle change might be an often missed out natural remedy for managing sensitive teeth in the long run. It includes maintaining oral hygiene on a daily basis, following proper brushing and flossing techniques, gentle brushing action, using soft-bristled toothbrushes, desensitising toothpaste, avoiding acidic food and goind for regular dentist appointments.1
Though there are studies that show the benefits of these herbs and home remedies for the management of sensitive teeth, these are insufficient. Therefore, there is a need for human studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of these home remedies on our dental health. Thus, these should only be taken with caution and never as a substitute for medical treatment.
When to Seek Medical Help:
You need immediate medical attention if you see the following:
- Receding gum line
- Swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Dental plaque
- Cracked tooth.2
You must not rely on home remedies alone for the management of sensitive teeth and should consult a qualified doctor for any advice for sensitive teeth if the symptoms do not improve with home remedies.
Sensitive teeth is a painful sensation to live with, and can be extremely limiting. It does not occur in the normal healthy tooth. It is experienced as a sharp pain while brushing teeth and eating cold, hot or sweet food. Few remedies that you can try at your home to relieve the pain, such as using aloe vera, clove oil, sesame oil, garlic, turmeric, neem, peppermint, miswaak, etc. If the condition persists for longer, do not rely on home remedies; instead, contact a doctor and get proper treatment for your sensitive teeth.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What are sensitive teeth?
Tooth sensitivity occurs when your dentine (layer under tooth enamel) gets exposed due to receding gums. Hence, your dentine experiences a sharp pain that causes sensitive teeth whenever you eat or drink something.2
What precautions to take with sensitive teeth?
People should follow certain precautions such as maintaining oral hygiene, using a soft-bristled toothbrush, desensitising toothpaste and avoiding excess acidic food. Regular checkups with your doctor will help you manage your sensitive teeth condition.2
What are the dental procedures that might reduce the sensitivity of teeth?
If the condition worsens, contact your concerned dentist and ask for treatment that may help reduce sensitivity. They include fluoride varnishes, which may be applied to the exposed root, dentine sealers and white fillings for covering exposed root surfaces.2
Can we use bloodwort for sensitive teeth?
Bloodwort or bloodroot is a flowering plant and primarily contains an alkaloid called sanguinarine. It is an FDA-approved antibacterial and antiplaque agent.3 It might be useful for managing dental plaque causing sensitive teeth. However, people should consult a doctor before using it as a home remedy for sensitive teeth and not use it to self-medicate themselves.
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.