Avoiding Sensitivity When Whitening Your Teeth

Posted on: 20 September 2016


Many people wish their teeth were whiter. The good news is that there are several over-the-counter whitening treatments available. These are safe and effective, and they can result in a noticeable difference in the whiteness and brightness of your teeth. Some people experience teeth and gum sensitivity while using them, however. Here are some tips on minimizing sensitivity during teeth whitening treatment.

Follow the Directions 

One common mistake people make is to think that if applying the gel or strips to the teeth once per day is good, then twice per day is better. Others lengthen the recommended time for the solution to remain on the teeth. This can result in more sensitivity and should be avoided. It is not likely that your teeth will get any whiter any faster if you leave the solution on too long or if you apply it more often than recommended, so there is no benefit of overusing the product. Follow the directions carefully for greater comfort.

Avoid Hot and Cold Foods

Immediately after using your teeth whitening gel, you will likely notice that your teeth are a bit more sensitive than usual. Avoid biting into hot or cold foods until the sensitivity has waned. For some people, this will take only minutes or hours, but others will need to stick to foods just a bit warmer or cooler than room temperature during the entire treatment.

Treat Your Teeth Gently

Switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush and avoid eating sticky, abrasive or crunchy foods during your whitening treatment. Treat your teeth and gums more gently than usual to avoid exacerbating any sensitivity that occurs. Remember to keep up with good oral hygiene habits, however. Brush twice daily and floss before bed. Just be more gentle about it.

Ask Your Dentist About a Fluoride Rinse

Some of the sensitivity that comes from whitening is due to demineralization of your enamel. This is normal, and your enamel will regenerate. You can speed the process along by using a fluoride rinse to encourage remineralization to happen sooner rather than later. One caveat: Some fluoride brands have the potential to stain your teeth. Ask your dentist which type you should use, or look for one that does not contain any dyes.

If your sensitivity is severe or if you are experiencing gum irritation as well, call your dentist. He or she may advise you to switch to a different teeth whitening product or may have other ideas for helping you minimize sensitivity while going through the whitening treatment.