Sensitive teeth are the painful and annoying barrier between you and your favorite ice cream and hot coffee. Teeth sensitivity turns eating or drinking into a chore and also affects your nutrition and appetite. The good thing is you can deliciously tame the pain of your sensitive teeth with teeth-friendly food options.
Munching on teeth-friendly foods and drinks can naturally soothe your sensitive teeth. They are rich in vitamins and minerals that help restore your tooth enamel and curb tooth sensitivity.
What causes tooth sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity or dentin hypersensitivity happens due to thin or damaged tooth enamel. Our tooth enamel covers and protects our dentin and tooth pulp that contains blood vessels and nerves. Some people naturally have sensitive teeth. In some cases, tooth sensitivity is also an indication of tooth decay.
You can also develop tooth sensitivity if you:
- frequently consume acidic foods and drinks
- brush too hard
- grind your teeth
- have a dental emergency like chipped, cracked, or worn-down teeth
Other dental and medical conditions may also lead to sensitive teeth, such as GERD or gum recession, where the thin enamel or cementum of the tooth roots are exposed due to gum disease. Dental treatments like teeth whitening, fillings, root canals, crowns, and bridges can also cause a temporary sensitivity but eventually subsides in time.
Your dentist may recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush, desensitizing toothpaste, or a fluoride gel as a topical solution. You may also need to be more gentle when you brush your teeth and double up your dental care to prevent damaging your sensitive teeth further.
Vitamins and minerals that can restore your tooth enamel
The foods and beverages that can help restore and maintain the health of your teeth are good sources of the following vitamins and minerals:
- Calcium is an essential mineral that our bodies need to strengthen our bones and teeth.
- Phosphorus helps harden your tooth enamel and produces protein for cell and gum tissue repair.
- Potassium improves bone mineral density and works with magnesium to prevent blood acidity that can leach off calcium from your teeth and bones.
- Vitamin D aids in the distribution, deposit, and absorption of calcium in our bones and teeth. It also works with potassium in boosting your bone mineral density.
- Vitamin A helps in saliva production that keeps mucous membranes healthy, prevents dry mouth, and removes food debris between your teeth.
- Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that strengthens your tooth enamel through remineralization.
Best foods for your sensitive teeth
The vitamins and minerals that can restore your tooth enamel are in the foods that we eat. Here are the foods and beverages that are not only healthy for the body but also help soothe your sensitive teeth:
Protein sources: meat, fish, and tofu
Your source of protein is also rich in phosphorus that helps harden your tooth enamel. Light meat like chicken and turkey contains a higher amount of phosphorus than red meat.
For your fish options, sardines and carp contain about 411 mg to 451 mg of phosphorus, which is 50% to 60% higher than the reference daily intake (RDI). Oily fish like salmon and mackerel are also good sources of Vitamin D.
The crunchy sensation in your mouth stimulates your salivary glands to produce more saliva. Good saliva flow helps coat your teeth and keep acid attacks from the foods and drinks at bay. Chinese cabbage, bok choy, or carrot sticks not only add crunch to your meals but are also rich in calcium and Vitamin A.
Dairy foods and drinks
Incorporate dairy in your diet, whether it’s butter on your toast, grilled cheese on your burgers, or milk on your oats. Dairy products are a popular source of calcium that helps strengthen your tooth enamel. They are also versatile and can enhance the flavor of any dish or snack that you love.
Orange crops and vegetables
Orange-colored fruits and vegetables like sweet potatoes and carrots are rich in Vitamin A. Adding them to your diet not only relieves your sensitive teeth but also boosts the health of your eyes and skin.
Foods that can worsen your sensitive teeth
Your sensitive teeth can get worse and lead to other dental conditions if you consume the following foods and beverages:
Acids from citrus fruits and tomatoes
The citric acid from citrus fruits like lemon and tomatoes can wear down our tooth enamel. If you’re craving a citrus flavor on your dish, sumac is a good alternative. It tastes like lemon but is not acidic enough to damage the tooth surface and worsen tooth sensitivity.
Chewing ice cubes
Either it’s part of your habit or a way to relieve your anxiety, chewing ice cubes is a threat to your tooth enamel. Your tooth enamel can chip or crack, which aggravates the tooth pain associated with tooth sensitivity.
Carbonated soft drinks and sugary foods
The acid from carbonated drinks can wear down your tooth enamel. They are also high in sugar which can encourage bacterial growth and plaque buildup on your sensitive teeth. Once the bacteria damage your tooth enamel, both tooth decay and tooth sensitivity can get worse.
Foods and beverages that dry your mouth
Saliva is the ally of your teeth against tooth decay and mouth diseases. It contains antibacterial properties that coat and protect your teeth, gums, and tongue against bacteria. Avoid dry foods like cookies, dried fruits, and crackers, and salty foods as they contribute to dry mouth.
Find out the source of your sensitive teeth with LandMark Dentistry
Dealing with sensitive teeth can spoil the fun and comfort of eating your favorite meals. Let your diet soothe the pain due to sensitivity. Our team of dental experts can help you get to the bottom of your tooth sensitivity.
We are in-network with BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina and other insurance providers. If you are a BCBSNC insurance holder, you may check the latest discounts and deals for your oral care here.