7 Healthcast: Sensitive teeth
UNDATED -- Summer is practically here and for many people that means more sweet frozen treats.
But teeth sensitivity can have you screaming for ice cream... in pain.
"It's like a brain freeze in the teeth," said Lisa Stone.
Although Lisa Stone has suffered for over more than 20 years, she is not alone in her pain.
"I would say 50 to 60 percent of patients have some form of tooth sensitivity," said Dr. Leonard Tau.
Dentist Leonard Tau says the incidents spike in the summer because of the cold treats people eat and drink.
"I love ice pops in the summer and I had to give them up completely," said Stone.
While undiagnosed cavities may be the cause, Dr. Tau says "one of the major causes of tooth sensitivity is gum recession caused by too hard of tooth brushing or vigorous tooth brushing."
"I thought that that's how you keep your teeth really clean is if you brush really, really hard," said Stone.
And that mouthwash you keep on hand to freshen your breath throughout the day?
"It can actually dry out the gums and the gums can recede as well," said Dr. Tau.
Other surprise offenders limiting your summer fun are whitening toothpastes that contain chemicals like hydrogen peroxide and teeth grinding.
"An unconscious habit and that can be handled with a night guard," said Dr. Tau.
If you are having tooth sensitivity you don't have to rush to your dentist’s office. There are some things you can try at home first.
"If you want to whiten with some toothpaste, you just have to use ones with sodium fluoride in there," said Dr. Tau.
The most popular one is Sensodyne. And make sure sodium fluoride is in your mouthwash, as well.
Another easy fix is to switch to a soft bristled or powered tooth brush.
"There are brushes out there that have sensors in them that will actually indicate when you're brushing too hard," said Dr. Tau.
Sensitivity to temperature usually means teeth have been compromised in some way. Certain kinds of sensitivity can take weeks or even months to go away.
Lisa Stone has found relief by trading in her toothpaste and toothbrush. And just in time for the start to summer...
"I did buy a box of Popsicles already. They're in the freezer and waiting," she said.