PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. Especially if you have sensitive teeth.

In today’s Angie’s List report, we learn about common causes of teeth sensitivity and ways you can combat the problem and maybe even get to enjoy ice cream again.

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Lots of people who have sensitive teeth think they just have to live with the condition and they give up foods and drinks they love. What they don’t know is, they can control, and maybe even eliminate, their sensitivity and still enjoy those treats.

It may, however, first involve a visit with someone they’ve also been avoiding.

“Many people don’t like going to the dentist and often times put off problems whether they are having pain and discomfort and they don’t get it treated because they don’t want to go. But, that is going to lead to bigger problems that are harder to treat,” Angie Hicks with Angie’s List said.

For people with sensitive teeth, the pain they feel is mostly likely happening because they’re having issues with the enamel on their teeth. It’s the thickest part of a tooth and the first line of defense against sensitivity.

“There’s many different things that can damage the enamel. One of the most common one is many of the items that we drink. There’s soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, different types of wine, and the reason those are challenging to enamel, is they are full of acid,” Dr. Rob Gausmann said.

Some vegetables and fruits contain acids, as do sour candies.

Jawbreakers and nuts don’t have acids but they’re hard and can crack the enamel.

Chewing ice, grinding or clenching your teeth?

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That’s just asking for trouble. Fillings that fix cavities will sometimes allow cold to be transmitted to the nerves below, and some teeth whitening products that penetrate the tooth to remove stain will cause sensitivity.

Another problem? You may be brushing your teeth wrong.

“Some folks really like to get their teeth clean and they scrub along there. You get your teeth clean, but the problem is you can actually damage your teeth when you do that. You can wear away tooth structure and you can actually wear away some of the gum tissue along there. Well, if you wear away tooth structure, we are making it thinner and you get more cold transmitting to the nerve for more cold sensitivity and then, the gum tissue actually protects the tooth a little bit too. So, if you wear that away, it exposes more of that tooth that’s thinner and more cold sensitivity with it,” Dr. Gausmann said.

But back to the reason so many of us put up with the pain. How do you combat that fear of the dentist issue?

“So, the key here is finding a dentist that you can talk to easily and talk to about this anxiety and discomfort you might have when you are at the dentist. Many dentists can come up with ways to make the process much less painful and also going more frequently. While it might seem crazy to most people, it can actually make the process much easier on you,” Hicks said.

What about those toothpastes designed specifically for sensitive teeth? Experts tell Angie’s List that toothpaste, rinses or trays that contain fluoride are good ideas because they’ll help strengthen teeth, which reduces sensitivity.

If you’re one of those who likes to use over-the-counter teeth-whitening products, Dr. Gausmann says you’re probably okay as long as your products are approved by the American Dental Association.

But, stop chomping on that ice.

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