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SENSITIVE TEETH & THE PHARMACY

Pharma advice

19 Oct 2016

Dental sensitivity manifests as an intense, transient pain occurring when the dentine, the inside of the tooth, is exposed to certain thermal, chemical or tactile stimuli. The pharmacist may recognise people with this condition and can recommend specific products to relieve the symptoms.

Teeth are protected by enamel and a thin layer called the radicular cementum. Inside that is the dentine, comprising thousands of microscopic tubules that connect the outer part of the tooth with the nerve endings.

When this natural protection is lost and the dentine is exposed allowing thermal, chemical or tactile stimuli to reach the nerve endings, dental sensitivity appears. It is a syndrome characterised by intense, transient dental pain, usually located in one or more teeth, which disappears when the stimulus that provokes it ceases.

Sensitivity is the most common cause of dental pain and can affect one in four adults, mostly between 18 and 40 years of age. In recent years, its prevalence has increased among young people because of the increased consumption of acidic drinks and the indiscriminate and unsupervised use of tooth whitening products.

WHAT TRIGGERS SENSITIVE TEETH?

Dental sensitivity often appears as the result of gum recession or surface wear on the tooth. Some of the main triggers include:

Abrasion. Friction caused by a very abrasive toothpaste or the habit of putting foreign objects in the mouth, such as pens, pins, etc. results in wear or loss of tooth enamel.

Cervical abfraction and attrition. Excessive force when chewing, and clenching or grinding of teeth (bruxism) accelerates enamel wear.

Erosion. Chemical action upon consumption of highly acidic foods, or contact with them as a result of gastric reflux or vomiting, causes enamel wear or loss.

Dental treatments. Certain dental treatments such as scaling and root planing, or complications arising from orthodontics may cause gum recession and therefore favour the onset of dental sensitivity.

MOST PRODUCTS TREATING DENTAL SENSITIVITY WORK BY PLUGGING THE EXPOSED DENTAL TUBULES, INHIBITING TRANSMISSION TO THE NERVE WHICH CAUSES THE PAIN


DEALING WITH SENSITIVITY IN THE PHARMACY

Toothpastes and mouthwashes for dental sensitivity are the third most in-demand product category at pharmacies and parapharmacies, after gum care and anticaries products. With a turnover of up to €50 million through this channel, there is a growing market driven by public demand and awareness, and the prevalence of this dental disorder.

Pharmacists and their sales channel are unique in responding to this demand by offering their customers added value in up-to-date professional information on this disorder, tips to prevent it and solutions for its treatment, thus differentiating them from large stores and other outlets offering similar products.

If not treated properly, tooth sensitivity may trigger more serious diseases, such as tooth decay or periodontal disease, as the pain caused by hypersensitivity hinders effective performance of oral hygiene.

The role of the pharmacist is therefore crucial to detect possible cases of tooth sensitivity and in recommending specific products for treatment, as well as recommending visits to the dentist for proper examination and an accurate diagnosis.

Prevention also involves following this advice on diet:

  • Limit the amount and frequency of consumption of acidic products, as they can erode the enamel and leave the dentine exposed. To minimise its effect, you should wait five to ten minutes before brushing your teeth after drinking soft or fizzy drinks, foods high in sugar, fruit with high acid content (lemons, oranges, strawberries, etc.) or tinned products containing citric acid as a preservative.
  • Include foods that contribute to counteract the corrosive effects of acid on tooth enamel in your diet, such as dairy products.
  • Avoid very cold or very hot beverages or foods.
  • Modify certain bad habits, like using wooden toothpicks, or opening cans or bottle caps, etc. or cutting threads with your teeth.
  • Avoid smoking, which is responsible for increased periodontal disease, retracting the gums and thus increasing the risk of exposing the tooth, leading to sensitivity.

TOOTHPASTES AND MOUTHWASHES FOR DENTAL SENSITIVITY ARE THE THIRD MOST IN-DEMAND PRODUCT CATEGORY AT PHARMACIES AND PARAPHARMACIES, CONSTITUTING A STEADILY GROWING MARKET.

ORAL HYGIENE, A BASIC PILLAR IN THE PREVENTION OF DENTAL SENSITIVITY

Ensuring proper oral hygiene, including the use of specific products (toothpaste and mouthwash), as well as flossing, will help prevent the onset of dental sensitivity:

  • Using non-abrasive toothpaste, such as Desensin® repair toothpaste, daily, helps to repair the enamel as of its first use, thanks to the action of the hydroxyapatite nanoparticles and potassium nitrate in its composition.
  • Products in the form of mouthwash are able to reach inaccessible areas and keep active ingredients effective for longer. Desensin® repair mouthwash, with its desensitising action, repairs and protects the enamel surface and restores the natural tooth structure.
  • A specific toothbrush with ultra-soft filaments should be used to ensure proper gentle cleaning, minimising pain but ensuring proper hygiene. Desensin® soft has been created specifically for sensitive teeth. Its small head allows for easier, more accurate brushing in difficult to reach areas, and its PBT filaments provide extra softness for gentle cleaning.

PROMOTING THE DENTAL SENSITIVITY CATEGORY

Ensuring the visibility and adequate placement of products for dental sensitivity treatment and prevention in the pharmacy will stimulate consumption by customers. To do this, you should consider the following factors:

Display. Place the POS materials where the consumer can see them.

Active recommendation. Customers rely on the advice of the pharmacist. Reinforcing this with written information will impact the promotion of this product category.

Products. Ensuring proper order and categorisation of specific products for dental sensitivity prevention and treatment is important.

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Data controller DENTAID, S.L. LABORATORIOS DE PREVENCIÓN E HIGIENE BUCAL, SLU (“PHB”).
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