Causes of Sensitive Teeth and how to Treat Them

Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth are a very common issue. Some people naturally have more sensitive teeth, while others may have some underlying issues which are causing this sensitivity.

Does eating ice cream cause discomfort or pain in your teeth? Perhaps brushing your teeth is uncomfortable? Let’s look into this further to see how we can help with your sensitive teeth.

Signs of Sensitive Teeth

Signs of sensitive teeth include the following:

  • Pain or discomfort while eating hot or cold food
  • Pain or discomfort while drinking hot or cold drinks
  • Experiencing pain or discomfort when brushing or flossing your teeth
  • Eating acidic and sugary foods causes discomfort or pain
  • Cold water on your teeth causing pain… for example, while brushing or during dental work

Pain can be experienced in one tooth, a few, or all of your teeth. The level of pain will be different in each individual. Some people can experience slight discomfort, while others may experience pain for some time after carrying out any of the above.

Causes for Tooth Sensitivity Include:

It is important to understand what is causing your sensitivity and address this issue.

One of the most common causes of sensitive teeth is worn enamel. Enamel is the outer layer of the tooth that protects the inner and more fragile areas of the tooth. If the enamel is worn down, it can cause added sensitivity due to the nerve and cells of the tooth being more exposed.

Other causes include;

  • Gingival recession (receding gums)
  • Tooth decay
  • Cracked tooth
  • Worn fillings
  • Gum disease
  • Teeth bleaching


The type of treatment needed will depend on what is causing the sensitivity. Some causes will easily be treated with a change in your daily oral hygiene routine. Other, more serious causes, will need to be treated by your dentist.

Treatment for Worn Enamel;

Don’t brush your teeth too hard – The harder you brush, does not lead to cleaner teeth. In fact, it does more damage than good. By brushing too hard, you are actually removing the enamel on your teeth bit by bit. A gentle, circular movement is more than enough to clean your teeth effectively. Find out more about the do’s and don’t of cleaning your teeth.

Avoid acidic and sugary foods – These types of foods will start to break down your enamel and will lead to sensitive teeth. If you are unsure about what foods to avoid to keep your teeth healthy, read our blog on ‘Nutrition and Dental health

Flouride Treatment – Depending on how bad the enamel is worn away, your dentist may recommend fluoride treatment which will strengthen the enamel.

Other Treatment Includes;

For less severe cases, using a sensitive toothpaste may help control the discomfort you are experiencing. However, make sure you get advice from your dentist to ensure there is nothing serious causing the sensitivity.

If the sensitivity is caused by a more severe issue such as a cracked tooth, gum disease, receding gums or tooth decay, you will more than likely need help from your dentist. Procedures such as deep cleaning, scaling, gum grafting, and root canals may be needed, but your dentist will advise on this depending on the severity of the cause.

If you are experiencing sensitivity in your teeth, we suggest asking your dentist to look at this for you. Your dentist will be able to give you advice on the best approach to treating your sensitive teeth.

If you have any questions in relation to your own sensitive teeth, please get in touch with us today.

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