In the United States, 40% of adults between ages 20 and 50 report sensitive teeth. If you Google “tooth sensitivity” you will find a laundry list of top selling toothpastes to cover up your pain, but they won’t solve the underlying problem. In fact, Glaxo Smith Klein (GSK), the makers of Sensodyne toothpaste, state on their website that sensitive teeth can never be reversed or disappear. If you want to prove them wrong, you need to make a few simple changes and add xylitol to your day – so that sensitivity problems will reverse and disappear forever!
Oral health is a dynamic process that fluctuates from one direction to the other as things tip this balance between health and disease. We are the ones who develop habits and decide how we care for our teeth, so reversing sensitivity is under our control. When your mouth is healthy and correctly balanced, teeth will not be sensitive, but they will feel shiny, smooth and comfortable.
The goal for anyone with sensitive teeth is to promote and sustain the formation of a thin, invisible, protein layer called healthy biofilm. This biofilm naturally covers our teeth and gums when they are healthy. This layer is strong and offers our teeth protection from temperature changes, chemical attack, mechanical damage, (from tooth grinding or brushing) and from infection by harmful bacteria and viruses.
Healthy biofilm develops from a mesh of saliva strands that weave themselves into a thin, translucent film. This film covers our teeth and gums to guard them from sensitivity, staining, wear, cracking, cavities, and the formation of plaque.
The top 3 things that damage healthy biofilm are:
- Tooth Bleaching, whitening strips, peroxide, baking soda and abrasive tooth powders and pastes.
- Mouth dryness from mouth breathing, dry mouth, allergy and sinus problems, various medications, alcohol and smoking.
- Prolonged and repetitive acidity exposure, which occurs when we sip drinks (especially carbonated water, soda, or juice) or constantly snack (especially sugary foods or carbohydrates).
The best way to regain and re-establish healthy biofilm is:
- Frequent use of xylitol oral health supplements that help develop healthy biofilm. Zellie’s mints are convenient and will give you an adequate dose if you take 2 mints after each meal, snack and drink (2 mints = 1 gram xylitol x 6-10 times daily = 6-10 grams of xylitol daily).
- Use of oral care products that work in harmony with xylitol. Sensitivity will decrease more quickly when you use certain products that support the development of healthy biofilm, like my Complete Mouth Care System.
- Stop flossing and increase the time intervals between dental office cleanings if possible (to encourage the development of healthy biofilm).
- Limit acidity exposure. Eat and drink at meal times. Limit constant sipping and snacking throughout the day.
For more information about biofilm please refer to my book Mouth Care Comes Clean – p 46-56.
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