Sensitive Teeth: Causes and Treatment

If eating or drinking something hot or cold causes tooth pain, it could mean you have sensitive teeth. If so, you are not alone. Recent studies estimate that 11.5% to 33.5% of people suffer from dentin hypersensitivity or tooth sensitivity.

Although dentin hypersensitivity can affect people of any age, it is most common in people between the ages of 20 and 40. Tooth sensitivity also affects women more than men.

Read on to learn about potential causes of tooth sensitivity, how a dentist can help, and ways to protect and rebuild your teeth.

signs and symptoms

Tooth sensitivity may not affect everyone the same, but there are several common signs and symptoms, including:

  • Severe tooth pain when exposed to hot or cold food and/or drink
  • spontaneous toothache
  • pain when biting or chewing
  • Pain or sensitivity limited to one specific tooth or several adjacent teeth
  • Pain from using an alcohol-based mouthwash
  • Pain when breathing through your mouth, especially cold air

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Causes of tooth sensitivity

Sensitive teeth can occur for a number of reasons. Potential causes of sensitive teeth include:

  • Brushing your teeth so hard that the protective enamel is removed
  • Gingival recession
  • Tooth decay and/or tooth decay
  • Gum disease due to tartar or plaque buildup
  • molar
  • A cracked tooth or a cracked filling inside the tooth
  • Acidic foods and drinks cause tooth enamel erosion
  • tooth bleaching
  • vitamin or mineral deficiencies that lead to tooth decay or gum disease
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You may be at risk for tooth sensitivity if:

  • You are not maintaining good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing twice a day
  • You did not go to the dentist for regular check-ups
  • you drink a lot of acidic drinks
  • you grind your teeth
  • You engage in behaviors that wear away the enamel, including brushing too hard or using bleaching treatments

There are many reasons for tooth sensitivity.

Because there are many causes of tooth sensitivity, it’s important to see your dentist to find out the exact cause of your tooth sensitivity.

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professional treatment

If your sensitive teeth are causing a lot of pain and discomfort, you should see your dentist for tooth sensitivity treatment. The first step in effective treatment is to determine the cause of dentin hypersensitivity. If your tooth sensitivity is due to cavities, gum disease, or broken teeth or fillings, your dentist can treat these conditions to eliminate tooth sensitivity.

Your dentist may also recommend various topical treatments to reduce or relieve tooth sensitivity. These include fluoride rinses, gels or varnishes and may need to be used in a range of treatments for best results.

If your dentin sensitivity persists, your dentist may apply a sealant on or around your teeth to protect your teeth from sensitivity.

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home dental care

There are a number of tooth sensitivity treatments you can try at home to reduce pain and provide protection for sensitive teeth. These include:

  • Use toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth
  • Replace your toothbrush with one with softer bristles to reduce wear and tear
  • Use small circular motions when brushing instead of side to side to reduce wear and tear
  • Wait at least an hour after meals to brush your teeth to avoid enamel loss
  • Limit intake of acidic drinks and foods
  • Wear a mouthguard while sleeping to protect your teeth when grinding your teeth
  • Make sure you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12, to prevent cavities and gum disease
  • Talk to your dentist before trying any home teeth whitening treatment
  • Don’t skip dental checkups; see your dentist at least twice a year

Name and number of human teeth


Living with sensitive teeth can be painful and uncomfortable. However, maintaining good oral hygiene, including brushing twice a day with toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth, can go a long way in reducing or preventing tooth sensitivity. Visiting your dentist for regular checkups can also help prevent or eliminate dentin hypersensitivity by treating potential precursors such as cavities and gum disease.

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Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential to maintaining your overall health, so don’t hesitate to speak to your dentist if you start to experience frequent sensitive teeth. Treating tooth sensitivity can take some time, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can tooth sensitivity be repaired?

    Yes, you can reverse sensitive teeth by treating causes like cavities or gum disease, or use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.

  • Why are my teeth suddenly sensitive?

    Sensitive teeth can have many causes, from poor oral hygiene to high intake of acidic foods to teeth grinding.

  • Can vitamin or mineral deficiencies cause tooth sensitivity?

    Deficiencies in calcium or vitamin D and/or B12 can lead to tooth decay and/or gum disease that causes tooth sensitivity.

  • Can tooth enamel recover naturally?

    You can’t replace the enamel that’s gone, but you can restore the health of the remaining enamel by eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals, reducing your intake of acidic foods and beverages, staying hydrated, and practicing good oral hygiene.