Sensitive Teeth Causes and Treatments

teeth with chocolate in the mouth

Do you find yourself flinching and wincing when you drink an ice-cold beverage, or when you floss or brush your teeth?

You are not alone – many people experience tooth sensitivity in their lifetime and struggle to deal with the pain.

Nobody wants to have to fight through sensitive teeth pain every time they try to eat something hot, cold, sticky, or acidic. So, what can be done about this? 

Here, we’ll cover everything you need to know about what causes sensitive teeth and what can be done about it.

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

Fortunately, you don’t have to put up with the pain forever. Sore gums and dental sensitivity are usually caused by something, which means they can usually be healed and prevented altogether.

There are methods you can practice to proactively fend off this dental discomfort, but first, we need to start with where the pain comes from to begin with.

Here are a few of the reasons you could be feeling pain from sensitive teeth:

  1. Consuming Acidic Foods.  Acidic foods like lemons, kiwis, grapefruits, pickles, and tomato sauce can cause pain to your nerves if their pathways are exposed. Eating less of these foods or avoiding them altogether can help avoid the pain.
  2. Grinding Your Teeth. While the enamel of your teeth is one of the strongest parts of your entire body, the action of grinding your teeth significantly wears down and damages your enamel. When you wear it down, the tooth’s middle layer, or dentin, becomes exposed.
  3. Brushing Too Enthusiastically. Sometimes, tooth sensitivity can be caused by having too much gusto while brushing your teeth. If you are using a toothbrush that is too stiff or hard-bristled and using just too much force overall, the layers that protect your teeth can be worn down over time. When these protective layers are weakened, your dental nerves become more prone to sensitivity due to hollow, microscopic canals or tubes that become exposed and lead right to the nerves.   
  4. Using Mouthwash Too Frequently. When you first discover how refreshing mouthwash is, it is difficult not to overuse it. However, some mouthwashes sold over the counter contain chemicals and alcohol that have been known to make teeth more sensitive. This is especially true if your dentin is already exposed.   
  5. Using Toothpaste for Tooth Whitening. Just like mouthwash, a lot of manufacturers add chemicals designed to whiten your teeth that can actually hurt more than they help. Some people are simply more sensitive to these formulas than others. If your toothpaste contains some of these whitening agents, you should consider switching to a kind that does not.   
  6. You Have Excess Plaque. Brushing and flossing both act as a way to remove plaque that forms from eating. When plaque builds up, it can cause your enamel to wear down. Again, the more protection that your teeth lose, the more sensitive they will become.   
  7. You Have Gum Disease. Your chance of having gum disease, like having receding gums, will become more and more common as you get older, especially if you haven’t been properly taking care of your dental health. If you have gingivitis or gum disease, speak with your dentist to find a solution to help you treat your underlying disease.  
  8. Dental Procedures. If you’ve had a dental procedure, it is fairly common to experience some discomfort after a crown placement, extraction, or a root canal. If your symptoms continue after a while, you should contact your dentist as this may be an indication that it has become infected.   
  9. A Cracked Tooth. A tooth that is chipped or cracked could cause extreme pain and discomfort. The tooth will need to be evaluated to determine the proper course of action as far as treatment goes and to find out if it needs an extraction or a cap.   
  10. Decay in Surrounding Fillings. Fillings can weaken over time and eventually leak or fracture around their edges. When this happens, it makes it easy for bacteria to gather around the small crevices and cause acid to build up while breaking enamel down. Fortunately, fillings can be replaced easily, so just schedule an appointment with your dentist if you are experiencing any discomfort in between your visits.    

The Effects of Sensitive Teeth


Besides discomfort and pain, sensitive teeth can result in a host of other issues. For example, have you ever felt a strange earache that couldn’t be explained? It might be the result of sensitive teeth. Some earaches are actually caused by pain in your mouth.

The problem with sensitive teeth is that this issue will not go away on its own. Instead, you need to be proactive in seeking out the best sensitive teeth treatment possible or contacting your dentist to find the right solution to begin your healing process.

The Best Treatments for Sensitive Teeth

When it comes to treating this issue, regular dental appointments become just as important as your regular health checkups. Practice good dental care by scheduling regular checkups and annual appointments with a reliable dental office. 

While there is no one sensitive teeth cure, there are many things you can do to lessen and prevent the pain. If this mouth malady is ailing you, follow these tips to treat your discomfort:

  • Watch what you eat and avoid acidic foods.
  • Invest in a custom fit mouth guard to protect your teeth from grinding.
  • Do regular salt water rinses.
  • Use a toothbrush with softer bristles. Some may find this counterintuitive, but that is because they are following the line of thinking that a sturdier bristle will do a better job cleaning when actually a softer bristled brush can protect the layers of your teeth that cover up your nerve canals, therefore protecting against sensitivity. 
  • Instead of using mouthwash religiously, try a neutral fluoride rinse to cleanse your teeth. Another option is to simply spend more time brushing and flossing, skipping a rinse altogether.
  • Ask your dentist whether there are other treatments that might be beneficial for your health.  

A diagnosis begins with your dentist. If you have tried everything and are still looking for tooth pain relief, schedule an appointment at Dental Smiles Unlimited today! Our family owned practice has been servicing the NYC area for years, achieving happy and pain-free smiles for all our clients. 

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