If you have sensitive teeth, you know how frustrating it can be. Not being able to enjoy foods that are hot or cold without sharp, shooting pain can be daunting. Sensitivity can occur when the enamel protecting the outside of the tooth or the tissue between the tooth and gums wears away and exposes the nerves. This is a common issue that many people face. In fact, according to WebMD 1 in 8 adults may have sensitive teeth. If you suffer from sensitivity there are ways you can help manage it.

1. Use dental products that contain fluoride.

Fluoride is a natural mineral that is released from rocks in the earth’s crust. Using dental products that contain fluoride such as toothpaste or mouthwash will not only help prevent tooth decay but can reduce tooth sensitivity as well. Although your body cannot reproduce enamel once it’s gone, fluoride can help re-mineralize it by pushing calcium and phosphates back into the tooth to harden the enamel.

2. Avoid acidic drinks and foods.

Acidic foods and drinks such as coffee, citrus fruits and even tomatoes can wear down enamel on the teeth and cause sensitivity. This is because acid draws phosphates and calcium out of the teeth which weakens the enamel. If you suffer from sensitivity, it is best to avoid acidic foods and drinks, but when they cannot be avoided brushing after consumption will help.

3. Wear a mouthguard at night.

People who grind or clench their teeth at night can cause damage to the enamel on the surface of their teeth. This can leave the teeth vulnerable to pain and sensitivity. Wearing a mouthguard at night can protect the surface of the teeth if the grinding and clenching persists.

4. Use a soft bristled toothbrush.

Soft bristled toothbrushes are less abrasive on the teeth and help protect your enamel. This is especially true if you brush harder than you should. Using a medium or hard bristle toothbrush can not only weaken your enamel but may also cause your gums to bleed. Most dentists recommend that patients use a soft bristle toothbrush paired with light pressure when brushing.

5. Use a desensitizing toothpaste.

Desensitizing toothpaste is specially designed to help reduce sensitivity caused by weakened enamel. These toothpastes typically contain a high concentration of fluoride and additives such s potassium nitrate to calm the nerves. Using these toothpastes regularly can help manage tooth sensitivity.