Sensitivity of the dentin is a common condition among individuals. It is associated with open dentinal tubules all the way to the pulp. A study was conducted so as to access the effects of tooth brushing, followed by dietary acid application on the patency of dental tubules. Sections of the dentine were prepared from human molars and they were treated as follows:
ü Tooth brushing alone
ü Tooth brushing followed by exposure to orange juice
ü Tooth brushing subsequent to orange juice exposure
These entire specimens were observed in the electron microscope and the patency of the dentinal tubules was estimated. The results showed that tooth brushing alone was the most effective in occluding tubules. It was followed by tooth brushing subsequent to dietary acid application and then tooth brushing before dietary acid application. Results of the study showed that where there is dentine sensitivity, tooth brushing should not follow dietary acid application but they should be separate from meal times. Brushing the teeth after they have been exposed to acidic foods decreases the permeability of the dentin. The study states that brushing in the presence of dietary acids enhances the removal and opening of the tubule. Others suggest that tooth brushing creates a new fine and thin smear layer which reduces the permeability of the dentin. The study concluded that fruit juices increase the permeability whereas tooth brushing decrease the permeability of the root dentin after its exposure to a diet that has acid.
In the treatment of dentine hypersensitivity, toothpastes are commonly used. The ingredients in a tooth paste block patent dentinal tubules by abrasion and form a smear layer. The abrasives in a tooth paste have variable affinity for the dentine. Abrasives are more usually used in desensitizing products, but lack of consideration of the erosive factors might lead to the re occurrence of the condition.
It is recommended that appropriate preventive measures be taken in mind. These measures include; a reduction in the quantity of acid taken, sipping acidic beverages through a straw, reducing the quantity and frequency of acid intake and drinking neutral liquids such as water or milk after consuming diets which are acidic. Consumption of foods rich in calcium and iron before consuming acidic food helps to reduce the effect of the acid.