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Nangingilo? What to know about tooth sensitivity

MANILA, Philippines — When you drink a glass of ice-cold milk tea, sip on a large cup of strawberry smoothie, or take a mouthful of your favorite ube macapuno ice cream, do you feel nangingilo?

It is tooth sensitivity, and it can make your otherwise ordinary daily activities, such as eating and drinking, uncomfortable. Pangingilo is a tingling sensation that you get when a trigger factor, such as eating or drinking something cold, hot or sugary, occurs. It is an oral health problem that eight out of 10 Filipinos suffer from.

Yet, sadly, not many people take action to stop its occurrence in the future. After all, for quite a number of them, the pangingilo sensation, which is like having a light electric current run through your teeth, lasts only for a few seconds and then goes away. Thus, most people simply avoid consuming cold, hot, or sugary food and drinks as their solution to the problem. No triggering factor, no pangingilo.

It is, however, important to address tooth sensitivity properly, as ignoring it can lead to expensive and serious dental problems. It is best to know all about pangingilo and address the problem right away.  

Tooth sensitivity, or pangingilo, occurs when the tooth’s outer protective layer, the enamel, wears down and thins out over time.

Among the causes of the thinning of the protective layer is using a hard-bristled toothbrush. Another reason for developing pangingilo is consuming acidic food or too sugary food and drinks, such as softdrinks, candy and chocolate. 

If someone experiences tooth sensitivity and ignores it, the problem would worsen. Every time they eat or drink something hot, cold, too sugary, or acidic food, the problem would persist because the root of the problem is not being addressed. When the problem gets worse, the more expensive the treatment would become.

 Can regular toothpaste address sensitivity?

Not all toothpaste has been formulated to protect against pangingilo. Only those formulated with potassium nitrate and sodium fluoride, like Sensodyne. Potassium nitrate and and sodium fluoride soothe the teeth and prevent pangingilo and the formation of cavities.

To help more Filipinos address their pangingilo,