Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

Causes of tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is a common dental issue that affects millions of people worldwide. It can cause discomfort and pain, often triggered by consuming hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and beverages. In this blog, we will explore the various causes of tooth sensitivity, how it manifests, and ways to manage and prevent it.

What is Tooth Sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity happens when the inner layer of your teeth, called dentin, gets exposed. Dentin has tiny tubes with nerve endings inside. When the outer protective layers of your teeth, like enamel or cementum, wear away, things like hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and drinks can easily reach these nerves, causing sharp pain or discomfort.

Causes of tooth Sensitivity

Common Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

  • Enamel Erosion

Enamel, the hard, outer layer of your teeth, can wear down over time due to several factors:

  1. Acidic Foods and Drinks: Consuming a diet high in acidic foods and beverages, such as citrus fruits, sodas, and wine, can erode enamel.
  2. Brushing Too Hard: Using a hard-bristled toothbrush or brushing your teeth with excessive force can wear away enamel.
  3. Teeth Grinding (Bruxism): Grinding your teeth, especially at night, can gradually erode enamel.
  • Gum Recession

When more of the tooth or the tooth’s root is exposed due to wear and tear on the gum tissue that surrounds and shields your teeth, this condition is known as gum recession. This can be caused by:

  1. Periodontal Disease: Infections of the gums, such as gingivitis or periodontitis, can lead to gum recession.
  2. Aggressive Brushing: Similar to enamel erosion, aggressive brushing can also contribute to gum recession.
  • Tooth Decay and Cavities

Cavities are portions of your teeth’s hard surface that are permanently damaged and grow into tiny holes or apertures. Dentin exposure from cavities can cause sensitivity.

  • Recent Dental Procedures

Sometimes, dental work such as fillings, crowns, or teeth whitening treatments can temporarily cause tooth sensitivity. This usually subsides after a few weeks, but if it persists, it’s essential to consult your dentist.

  • Cracked or Chipped Teeth

Your teeth may become sensitive if they have chips or cracks that expose the dentin. Such damage can be brought on by massive dental fillings that weaken the tooth structure, accidents, or biting on hard objects.

  • Exposed Tooth Roots

The roots of your teeth contain no enamel to protect them and are covered only by a thin layer of cementum. When this layer is lost, typically due to gum recession, the roots become exposed, leading to sensitivity.

Symptoms of Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity can show up in different ways:

  • Sharp Pain: A sudden, sharp pain in response to stimuli such as hot or cold foods and drinks.
  • Discomfort: A mild to moderate aching or discomfort in one or more teeth.
  • Triggered by Certain Activities: Pain triggered by brushing, flossing, or consuming sugary or acidic foods.

Causes of tooth Sensitivity

Preventing and Managing Tooth Sensitivity

Preventing tooth sensitivity involves maintaining good oral hygiene and making lifestyle changes. Here are some strategies:

  • Practice Gentle Brushing
    • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
    • Brush gently in circular motions, not too hard.
  • Use Desensitising Toothpaste
    • These toothpastes contain compounds that help block the transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve.
  • Avoid Acidic Foods and Drinks
    • Reduce consumption of acidic foods and beverages that can erode enamel.
  • Wear a Mouthguard
    • If you grind your teeth at night, a custom-fitted mouthguard can protect your teeth from damage.
  • Maintain Good Oral Hygiene
    • Brush twice a day and floss daily to prevent gum disease and cavities.
  • Visit Your Dentist Regularly
    • Regular dental check-ups can help catch problems early and prevent them from worsening.
  • Consider Fluoride Treatments
    • Professional fluoride treatments at your dentist’s office can help strengthen enamel and reduce sensitivity.

When to See a Dentist

If you experience persistent tooth sensitivity, it’s crucial to see a dentist. They can identify the underlying cause and recommend appropriate treatments, such as:

  • Fluoride Applications: Strengthening tooth enamel and reducing pain.
  • Dental Bonding: Applying a bonding resin to sensitive root surfaces.
  • Surgical Gum Graft: Covering exposed roots if gum recession is the cause.
  • Root Canal Therapy: If sensitivity is severe and other treatments are ineffective.

Causes of tooth Sensitivity


Tooth sensitivity is a disorder that can cause discomfort, but it can be managed and prevented by being aware of its causes and implementing preventative measures. The keys to maintaining your teeth healthy and minimizing sensitivity include practicing proper dental hygiene, modifying your diet, and seeing your dentist on a regular basis. To properly handle the issue of persistent or severe tooth sensitivity, don’t hesitate to seek professional dental guidance.