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Archive for November, 2014

Sensitive Teeth

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32Dental Sensitive Teeth

Brrrrrr…. it’s cold outside. Winter is here, and every year as the temperature starts dropping, patients start noticing more tooth sensitivity as they’re breathing in that cold air. They often ask us what causes this and what can be done to fix it.

Sensitive teeth are a common problem. For some, it’s just one or two teeth, but for others ALL of their teeth may be sensitive. Most often the cold is the trigger, but sometimes heat or sweets can trigger sensitivity in teeth. Why does this happen?

Below the outer layer of hard enamel, which covers and protects the crowns of our teeth, is a softer inner layer called dentin. Dentin contains thousands of teeny tiny tubules that lead to the inner core of the tooth (the pulp) where the nerve is. So, if dentin is exposed to cold, for example, the cold travels down these tubules, where it reaches the nerve and leads to the pain you feel. On parts of your teeth where the enamel is thinnest, you may notice more sensitivity, but very often areas of gum recession tend to be most sensitive for people. Gum shrinks away from these areas, leaving the roots of your teeth exposed, with no enamel protecting them.

There are many things that can contribute to increased sensitivity. Basically, anything that causes wear or thinning of the enamel, such as brushing too hard, clenching and grinding, acidic foods, or even abrasive whitening products, can exacerbate the issue. Or it might be something more, like tooth decay, gingivitis, a cracked tooth, or possibly an infection.

Here are a few things you can do that might help:

  • First, visit your dentist to determine WHY you’re having the sensitivity (only then will you know how you can fix it).
  • Always brush and floss regularly – if plaque sits on these areas too long, it can increase sensitivity too.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Try using toothpaste for sensitive teeth – there are lots of brands out there, so find one that works for you.
  • If you grind your teeth, try your best to avoid it and wear a protective night guard while sleeping.
  • There are special products, like fluoride varnishes, that can be placed over these sensitive areas to reduce discomfort as well.

Remember, nothing is ever too small to bring up with your dentist, so just ask us and we’ll do our best to help. Stay warm!

Dr. Jaimee Buchkowsky

November Movember

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The month of November has been renamed… and there’s no going back!

Yes, Movember (formerly November) has become that time of year when the men in our lives think it’s fun and hilarious to grow moustaches. They bond over their love/hate relationships with their new hairy accessories, share grooming tips, and there’s always the competition to see who can grow the best (or worst) moustache. Whether they grow a mo worthy of Tom Selleck or a pre-pubescent boy, they wear them proudly, as they should. There will always be humour tied to this modern tradition, but behind the mo, there is a “hairy truth” that can’t be lost or forgotten – the true meaning of Movember.

The idea of Movember was born in 2003 by two Australian mates, Travis Garone and Luke Slattery, while enjoying a quiet beer at a pub (the birthplace of so many great ideas). They came up with the interesting concept to grow moustaches in order to raise funds and awareness for men’s health issues and prostate cancer. That year, they convinced 30 brave men to take on their moustache growing challenge, with the same rules that govern Movember today. Although no funds were raised during their inaugural year, things only got bigger from there…

Today, the Movember Foundation is an organization that raises money for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s mental health issues. It has spread worldwide and involves participants in over 20 countries. Since 2003, over $550 million has been raised, and over 800 men’s health projects have been funded.

Just a few reasons why this cause is so important:

  1. Prostate cancer is the leading cause of death amongst Canadian men, accounting for 10% of all cancer deaths in men.
  2. 1 in 8 Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their life.
  3. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer amongst men aged 15-29.
  4. 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental health problem each year.

So if you’re man enough, I would encourage you to participate in Movember. If you’re not man enough (i.e. you’re a woman) I encourage you to donate to a family member or friend and do your part to spread awareness. ThirtyTwo Dental’s Dr. Bill Sharun will be growing a mo in honour of Movember. Please go to his Movember page and donate.

Dr. Jaimee Buchkowsky