If your teeth are so sensitive hot coffee makes you say ouch and ice cream leaves you wincing in pain, you need a solution. A new study published in Science Daily finds that green tea can help people with sensitive teeth enjoy all of life’s finer hot and cold foods — and maybe prevent cavities, too. Your trusted dentist shares the details of this exciting research below.
Why Teeth Get Sensitive
The teeth are covered with a hard, protective outer layer called enamel. When this layer is worn away due to aggressive tooth brushing, acidic foods and beverages, or any other factor, it exposes a softer under layer called dentin. Inside dentin are tubes that lead straight to the nerves beneath — meaning hot and cold sensations are felt more acutely than they would be if the enamel blocked the stimuli.
That’s not the only effect of sensitive teeth. When the enamel is worn away, it is also easier for acids and bacteria to enter the tooth and form decay, leaving most people with sensitive teeth at a higher risk for cavities as well.
About the Study
Recognizing that most treatments for sensitive teeth are temporary, a team of researchers set out to find a longer-term solution to sensitivity. They tested whether or not epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a green tea polyphenol, would prevent sensitivity by blocking the tubules that lead to the nerve endings. In previous studies, EGCG has been shown to reduce biofilm that causes cavities.
The researchers exposed extracted wisdom teeth to a green tea solution and found that EGCG plugged the dentin tubules for up to 96 hours. It was also resistant to wear from brushing and tooth erosion while also preventing biofilm buildup. That’s a powerful combination for better oral health — all inside a cup of green tea!
Is It Time for a Professional Solution?
This study suggests that adding a cup of green tea to your daily routine may help to curb your tooth sensitivity while also reducing your risk of cavities. But if you experience extreme discomfort when your teeth come into contact with hot or cold stimuli, it may be time to schedule an appointment with your dentist. Your sensitivity may be caused by nighttime teeth grinding or gum recession.
In addition to seeking a professional solution for sensitivity, keep these other tips in mind to reduce enamel erosion and protect yourself from sensitive teeth.
- Don’t brush your teeth too hard. It may feel like you’re getting your teeth extra clean when you do it, but you are actually wearing away at the enamel and putting yourself at greater risk of sensitivity and decay.
- Stay away from overly acidic foods, like soda, candy, and simple carbohydrates. Sugary snacks and beverages throw the pH balance of your mouth out of whack and leave you at a higher risk of enamel erosion.
- Visit your dentist every six months for routine care and a fortifying fluoride treatment to combat sensitive teeth.
To conclude, if you’re suffering from sensitive teeth, you are also at a higher risk of decay — but drinking green tea may provide significant help. Try adding a cup to your routine, and don’t forget to visit your dentist for added protection against sensitivity and cavities!
About the Author
Dr. Torin Marracino and Dr. Milburn Haynes are trusted providers of comprehensive dentistry for Pleasant Grove and surrounding communities. If you have been searching for a “dentist near me” to provide high quality family dentistry, you are invited to contact the office at 903-838-9700.