Relief for sensitive teeth: at home remedies and tips.

Medically Reviewed by a
Licensed DDS

Table of Contents

  1. At-Home Remedies
  2. When to Seek Treatment
  3. Alignment Issues
  4. Overall Treatment Plan
  5. References

You may experience pain or discomfort when you eat something hot or cold. This is tooth sensitivity, and it can be a normal experience for some people due to genetics.

If you do not normally have sensitive teeth, and you suddenly experience pain or discomfort when you drink hot coffee or take a bite of ice cream, there could be another cause. You may need to visit your dentist.

There are several common causes of sensitive teeth, including tooth decay, cracked or damaged tooth enamel, worn fillings, gum disease, and exposed tooth roots. These conditions all require attention from your dentist.

If you do develop a sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages — or to sweet, spicy, or sour foods — you can use some at-home remedies to ease the discomfort while you wait for your appointment with your dentist.

Many of these tips can help with short-term pain, but it’s also important to implement a long-term approach to deal with sensitive teeth. This includes good oral hygiene, regular dental visits, dealing with acute issues, and potentially straightening your smile to reduce issues that contribute to sensitivity.

At-home remedies for sensitive teeth.

You may develop sensitive teeth if some layers around your tooth wear away. This may become a cavity. It could be a more gradual sensitivity that slowly builds over time, like that from receding gums.

The two outer layers of your teeth, the enamel and the cementum, protect the more sensitive inner parts of your teeth, especially the dentin. When these two outer layers wear away, the dentin can be exposed, which causes sensitivity, discomfort, or pain.

Sensitive teeth can be the first sign of a larger dental problem like an infection, so it’s wise to contact your dentist for an appointment. While you wait for an exam and diagnosis, you can use home remedies to ease dental sensitivity.

Here are some tips for dealing with sensitive teeth at home:

Clove Oil

This type of oil can ease pain, thanks to a natural anesthetic called eugenol. You can mix a little clove oil with room temperature water and swish the mixture around your mouth. You can also put a few drops on a cotton ball and apply it directly to the affected area.

Clove oil does not taste great, but it can help in the short term with pain.

Peppermint Oil
Several cultures have historically used peppermint oil to ease toothaches and tooth sensitivity. Peppermint has some naturally antimicrobial properties, so dabbing the sensitive area with some oil on a cotton ball can temporarily ease swelling and pain associated with infection.
Saltwater Rinse

Rinsing with warm saltwater eases pain, and it can help to reduce the risk of infection if your sensitive teeth are caused by bacteria. Saltwater rinses are not a substitute for antibiotics, but they have some naturally antimicrobial properties, and warm water can ease swelling and pain in the area.

Regularly rinsing with saltwater can also help to prevent plaque buildup, which can reduce your risk of developing sensitive teeth due to infection.

Garlic
Folk medicine traditions around the world recommend garlic as a way to reduce many kinds of infections, and garlic does have some antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Tumeric

This spice has natural anti-inflammatory properties, so more naturopathic sources are recommending turmeric to ease pain from various inflammatory conditions. One study found that turmeric is as effective at reducing inflammation osteoarthritis around the knees as ibuprofen.

Mixing turmeric with water and swishing it like mouthwash can reduce discomfort from sensitive teeth.

Onion

One of the most popular at-home remedies for its antibacterial and antimicrobial potential, onion can be used to address sensitive teeth. Its anti-inflammatory properties can help to lessen tooth pain.

Cut an onion piece and place it in your mouth, next to the sensitive teeth. Leave it there for 5 minutes. After removing it, use a saltwater rinse.

Tea

Black tea can help to reduce inflammation. Place a wet tea bag against the affected tea. The tea bag should be warm but not hot.

Peppermint tea has some numbing capability. Let peppermint tea steep for 20 minutes, allowing it to cool as it steeps. Then, swish the tea around your mouth. You can either spit out the tea or swallow it.

Oil Pulling

According to some medical studies, swishing coconut oil or sesame oil around the mouth for several minutes has the ability to reduce tooth sensitivity. This practice originated in India.

Some small studies report that oil pulling can reduce gingivitis, a gum disease that might cause sensitive teeth. The practice may also reduce plaque buildup.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Dentists have recommended using hydrogen peroxide to manage oral hygiene issues since 1913. This chemical is known to kill bacteria, including those responsible for gum disease and sensitive teeth.

Find a solution that is 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, which is easy to find at most pharmacies. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to apply a small amount of the solution to the affected area, and then, rinse and floss your teeth.

You can also make a mouthwash by mixing half hydrogen peroxide and half water. Swish the mixture around your mouth, but be careful not to swallow this chemical.

Some people have sensitive teeth naturally, but If you suddenly develop a sensitivity to hot, cold, sweet, sour, or spicy foods and drinks, you may have an underlying condition.

When you should see your dentist about sensitive teeth.

You should schedule an appointment with your dentist if you develop sensitivity in your teeth that is not normal for you.

Some people are naturally more sensitive to very hot or very cold foods and drinks. If you did not have this before and suddenly do, it’s time to see a dentist.

If you develop a sudden sensitivity to sugary foods, sour foods, spicy foods, or any other food, you need help from your dentist. This change indicates that you have a problem with the roots of your teeth, which may be an infection or another form of damage.

During your appointment, your dentist may apply some desensitizing agents to relieve the pain, like fluoride gels, varnishes, or rinses. These may be painted on your teeth one or two weeks apart, to help build up enamel protection.

You may also need to have a cavity filled, which requires a thorough cleaning and some special sealant. If you have serious tooth decay and root infection, you might need a root canal to clear out the area. You could also need to have the tooth removed and then have an implant put in its place.

A good oral hygiene routine helps to prevent sensitive teeth caused by infection or inflammation. Your dentist may recommend that you use toothpastes designed for sensitive teeth and that you use gentle pressure when you brush your teeth.

How alignment issues can lead to sensitive teeth.

When it comes to crooked teeth, most people feel self-conscious about the aesthetics of their smile. But there are many oral problems that are rooted in misalignment issues.

Misaligned teeth can also contribute to tooth sensitivity. If your teeth are crowded or crooked, pressure on some teeth can damage the enamel and lead to small cracks that let bacteria in. Gapped teeth can also cause problems with plaque buildup.

If you have crooked teeth, you may be a good candidate for doctor-monitored, at-home aligners. These often work faster and are less expensive than braces.

With this type of treatment, you make impressions of your teeth in your own home and mail them into the aligner company. A professional reviews your case to determine if these aligners will work well for you. If you are a good candidate, you’ll receive custom-created aligners in the mail, along with a schedule of when to change to the next set.

You may be able to straighten your teeth in a relatively short period of time. If your teeth are aligned, it will be easier to clean your teeth. It will also reduce the risk of sensitive teeth.

An overall treatment plan.

While most at-home remedies can help to relieve short-term discomfort from sensitive teeth, it’s important to adopt a long-term approach. This starts with good oral hygiene and regular dental cleanings.

If you have a more serious acute issue that is causing your teeth to be sensitive, your dentist will be able to address that.

References.

Sensitive Teeth. American Dental Association (ADA).

Four Tooth Pain Home Remedies. Colgate.

Home Remedies for Sensitive Teeth. (March 2019). Medical News Today.

Toothache: Management and Treatment. (March 2020). Cleveland Clinic.

Sensitive Teeth? 5 Natural Ways for Relief From Tooth Sensitivity. (January 2018). NDTV Food.

11 Home Remedies for Toothache Relief. Reader’s Digest.

Hydrogen Peroxide Gums and Teeth Treatments. Colgate.

Sensitive Teeth. Oral Health Foundation.

Remedies: Clove Oil for Tooth Pain. (February 2011). The New York Times.

Can a Saltwater Rinse Help a Toothache? WebMD.

8 Ways to Relief Tooth Sensitivity. (February 2016). Everyday Health.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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