Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive Teeth: Simple Steps to Better Dental Health

Hypersensitivity in roots of teeth describes as tooth sensitivity. There are different causes of teeth sensitivity such as eating sweet, cold, hot, acidic drinks or food, breathing cold aid. Gradually a tooth sensitivity increases and causes intolerable intense pain.

Who can get sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity can happen in children and adults. It is very common when proper teeth care is missing. Nearly half of the population get tooth sensitivity which can come and go with time. A severe case of tooth sensitivity accompanied with tooth infection require the dentist to help for treatment.

There are four parts in the tooth which contain enamel-the hardest layer and visible part of the tooth. This outer layer contains a high level of calcium-phosphate mineral. Another layer is dentine below your tooth enamel and after that comes cementum in the root. The dentine is a soften layer than the enamel but stronger than cementum.

The inner layer of cementum available in the roots helps to anchor your teeth into the jaws. There is pulp which available in the center of your tooth, and it comprises of nerves, soft connective tissues, and blood vessels.

There are major factors which cause tooth sensitivity such as cementum loss, gum recession, and enamel loss.

Gum recession

It happens when gum begins to move down from your gum line and expose the tooth roots to dentine surface. It happens because of periodontal attachment which can occur due to gum abrasion by hard brushing or periodontal disease.

Enamel loss

Hard brushing can cause to wear down your tooth enamel surface and open dentin layer below enamel surface. Tooth enamel loss is obvious if you brush your teeth immediately after consuming acidic drinks or foods which cause tooth erosion.

Here are the prevention steps for sensitive teeth:

Tooth Brush

Tooth Brush

Too much brushing your teeth can be hard for your tooth enamel. Sensitivity can also come from brushing hard because the upper layer of teeth can wear down and inner parts get exposed to acidic foods which easily enters into the tiny canals and hollow tubes and cause pain. Even an extremely hot or cold temperature can also create the discomfort and result in sensitivity.

Proper brushing can prevent teeth sensitivity but avoid using hard bristles or old brush. Get a soft bristles brush and good toothpaste. You also need to avoid abrasive toothpaste. Brush your teeth gently forth and back motions and the sides of biting surfaces. Try not to be harsh with your teeth while brushing.

Acidic foods


Eating acidic foods can cause your sensitive teeth. If your nerves and inner part of the tooth are exposed, then the acidic foods find an easy way to enter inside and cause intense pain. Acidic foods such as tomato sauce, grapefruit, lemon, kiwi, pickles.

You can prevent the teeth sensitivity caused by acidic foods by using special toothpaste which created for sensitive teeth.

Use toothpaste which contains stannous fluoride. Make sure to check with your dentist to get suggestion about your teeth health and the kind of toothpaste.

Moderate acidic foods

  • Meat
  • Most Grains
  • Beans
  • Corn
  • Fowl
  • Fish
  • Coffee
  • Plums, prunes, and cranberries

High acidic Foods

  • Orange Juice
  • Sport Drinks
  • Wine
  • Tomatoes
  • Yogurt/Sour Cream
  • Sodas (e.g. cola beverages)
  • Aged cheese and most fermented foods
  • Pickled Products

Even though these foods are acidic, still you can eat it but you need to wash your mouth with water or do brush before sleeping.

Tooth grinder

Tooth grinding can cause sensitive teeth problem. Generally, tooth enamel is the strongest element in your body but grinding teeth cause to wear down the enamel and it will expose the inner part of teeth.

People may grind teeth due to several reasons such as anxiety and stress. Often it happens during sleep when you abnormally bite or crooked teeth. Teeth grinding also happen due to sleep disorder like sleep apnea.

As teeth grinding happen during sleep, you may unaware whether you are grinding teeth or not. However, you may experience a sore jaw, constant dull headache after waking up. In some cases, people will come to know by their family member that they grind teeth during sleep.

In chronic cases, teeth grinding can leads to loss of teeth, loosening or fracture of teeth and chronic teeth grinding can wear to pieces. When this happens the teeth crown, bridges, implants, root canals and total dentures get affected.

Consult your doctor for the examination of jaw and mouth to find out bruxism signs such as excessive teeth wear and jaw tenderness.

You can get a mouth guard from your dentist. It can help to protect you from grinding your teeth during sleep. If you are going through a stressful lifestyle than talk to your doctor or dentist for reducing stress. Begin with an exercise program, stress counseling, physical therapy. You can also get medication which helps in relaxing and prevent tooth grinding.

Other prevention steps to stop teeth grinding includes

  • Avoid alcohol which can increase teeth grinding.
  • Skip chewing something other than foods such as pen or pencils.
  • Avoid chewing gums which make jaw muscles gripping and leads to grinding teeth.
  • Train yourself to stop grinding your teeth.
  • You can also hold warm washcloth near your cheek to make your jaw relax.

Tooth-whitening toothpaste

Tooth whitening product which contains chemicals in toothpaste formulas can cause sensitive tooth. There are different types of tooth whitening product available in the form of gel, strips and mouth rinses.

According to ADA- American-Dental-Association, you can use non-bleaching and bleaching products. There is also some product available which will change the natural color of the tooth.

Many of the tooth whitening products have carbamide peroxide which is an active ingredient. It breaks down into urea and hydrogen peroxide. These elements work for eliminating inner and outer stains.

Some product which is nonbleaching has agents or ingredients which removes only surface stains.

How teeth whitening help you?

Generally, teeth whitening is a needed thing to boost self-confidence and have a pleasing smile. Everyone likes to have a dazzling smile with white teeth. Teeth whitening is the best procedure which you can get at home or at dentist care. But poor dental care can develop tooth sensitivity. However, you can prevent tooth sensitivity caused by tooth whitening products and achieve your beautiful smile.

Try to follow these prevention techniques when you are using teeth whitening products. Check with your dentist and make sure to follow the instructions because using teeth whitener more than recommended during can harm your teeth.

  • Try to reduce the application every day as you feel overcoming your sensitivity.
  • You can take Aleve or Advil before applying a tooth whitening product which can reduce the symptoms of sensitivity on the top surface.
  • Try to use low peroxide level content of whitening product (6 to 10% is enough). Many people think that taking higher levels of peroxide gives a better result, but that is not worth if your teeth are suffering from sensitivity.
  • During whitening your teeth, try to limit the sensitive foods and cold drinks. Even tooth sensitivity caused by temperature can also increase by whitening.
  • Avoid overusing whitening products which can also result in sensitivity. Overusing can also damage your teeth.
  • You can also use fluoride rinses or sensitivity toothpaste which helps to relieve the pain. Fluoride treatments are suggested during or after whitening your teeth.
  • Make sure to take a soft bristled brush and clean smoothly on gum to limit the symptoms.
  • It is an excellent idea to talk to your dentist if your sensitivity to stop tooth loss. If you use the whitening product properly, it can help effectively to decrease the sensitivity.


Frequent use of mouthwash which available over the counter could cause sensitive teeth as it contains chemicals and alcohol. Especially it becomes painful if you tooth dentine is exposed.

Instead of mouthwash you can try neutral fluoride wash or avoid the rinse. You need to be careful while brushing and flossing your teeth.

For some people, it can be difficult to decide whether toothpaste works better or mouthwash for treating sensitivity. According to research mouthwash and toothpaste both are equally effective.


According to the Journal-of-Clinical-and-Experimental-Dentistry publication of 2012, a study has shown that toothpaste and mouthwash which have potassium nitrate and sodium fluoride. The experiment went of two groups, half of the people used toothpaste with 5% of potassium nitrate, triclosan, xylitol, and sodium fluoride.

The second group used mouthwash two times a day which has the same ingredients, but they also used a non-fluoride toothpaste.

The tooth sensitivity was measured after four weeks and found both groups got the same results.

You can use Mouthwash such as Colgate® Sensitive Pro-Relief which can help to prevent teeth sensitivity and keep your teeth healthy.

Gum disease

Gum disease is a common teeth condition which occurs by an accumulated plaque on the surface layer of teeth. The buildup plaque is the sticky thing which is full of bacteria.

There are some bad bacteria in the plaque which causes to harm teeth, gums. If you don’t do proper brushing, then the plaque will build up and become thick and irritate the gums. Gum disease can cause bleeding and redness, soreness and swelling.

Irritated gums can lead to sensitivity. If you feel you have gum sensitivity, then check for specific symptoms. Gum sensitivity may occur due to gingivitis which is the first stage of gum disease.

You can notice the symptoms of gingivitis if you have tender and swollen gums. Your teeth may easily bleed and evoke bad breath said by ADA – American-Dental-Association.

Additionally, tobacco, diabetes, pregnancy and crooked teeth also cause gum disease.

How to prevent gum disease?

Proper care and good hygiene can help to prevent the mild gum disease. You can practice good hygiene by brushing your teeth regularly. You need to brush your teeth at least for twice a day and floss regularly. Make sure visit your dentist for a regular check-up.

In most cases, you will get plaque removed from teeth by cleaning at dentist clinic. They will also tell you how to clean your teeth properly which prevent the plaque build-up further.

If your gum disease condition is severe, then you will need further dental treatment from a specialist. Some cases require surgery to remove the sensitive tooth by gum problems specialist.

Excessive plaque

Brushing and flossing main work is to remove the plaque which forms after eating anything. The excessive plaque also causes to wear down the tooth enamel. It will result in more sensitive teeth, and they lose protective enamel. Visiting your dentist every six months is necessary to prevent teeth sensitivity.

Why does excessive plaque build?

There are several reasons for building excessive plaque which include:

Skipping tooth brushing is the first cause of excessive plaque accumulation. Regular brushing habits help to remove the bacteria and prevent plaque formation.

Morning toothbrushing is essential even if you didn’t eat and bacteria get accumulated. During the night you cannot produce enough saliva to remove the bacteria. The absence of saliva could cause to increase the chances of building more bacteria and form plaque. It is the reason that our breath also feels smelly.

Flossing is another important thing to perform regularly to prevent excessive plaque. Brushing without flossing cannot clean between dirt of teeth. According to research, regular flossing your teeth can help to reduce the risk of heart attack, cancer, and stroke.

Another important reason is diet. Properly planned diet is essential to keep plaque away. Good oral hygiene not only keep your mouth and teeth, healthy but also it helps overall health.

You can have plenty of fiber in your diet which helps to clean your teeth naturally. Don’t forget to drink enough water to wash anything left insides the teeth.

Teeth sensitivity and dental procedure

During tooth cavity treatment your dentist will fill the small holes by a substance like composite or amalgam. It is a common and simple dental procedure, but some people get sensitivity afterward. It depends on the cause to remain the tooth sensitivity.

The filling procedure requires to numb the affected areas for treatment. Once your treated numbness fades you might feel abnormal sensation in your teeth which include:

  • Painful teeth while cold or hot drinking and eating
  • Gum tenderness
  • Teeth pain in filling the surrounding
  • Pain while flossing or brushing your teeth.

What causes sensitivity after tooth filling?


During filling procedure, the dentist removes the rotten part of the tooth by a drill which releases heat. In some cases, this drill generated heat and cause to inflame the inner pulp of the tooth. The tooth pulp is connected with nerves, and tissues so it creates the sensitivity. Sometimes it also causes infection.

Bite Change

In some cases, tooth cavity filling makes the affected tooth taller than other teeth, this condition causes intense tooth pain, and you may find difficult to close your mouth because of extra pressure on the tooth. Hard biting can also crack the filling and cause sensitivity.

Many tooth surfaces

If there are multiple surfaces in your mouth, then it also causes pain and sensitivity.

For example: if a tooth has a gold crown and another come above or below on it with silver filling can cause an odd sensation and creat sensitivity.

Allergic reaction

Some people have an allergic reaction as sensitivity after filling. You may get itching or rashes in the surrounding space. You need to immediately contact your dentist so that they can redo the filling with other material.

Cracked tooth

A cracked or broken tooth also cause you pain and sensitivity. The pain can be extreme if your tooth’s inner pulp is exposed because bacteria and waste material can easily enter in the nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues which cause to create infections and diseases. You are more prone to feel inflammation in your teeth and gums.

As you get aware that your tooth is cracked, consult a dentist as soon as possible to prevent the extra damage to occur in gum tissues and tooth. Without wait get an appointment because delay can create more problem.

In a delayed situation try to bite gently or the fluids. If you have the broken teeth part with you, then take it to the dentist. Your dentist cannot fix the broken piece, but it will help to analyze the tooth enamel and how to fix the broken part.

What to do when you have cracked tooth?

If your tooth is cracked or broken and you are unable to get your dentist immediately, then do the things to prevent your pain from getting worse. Remember that this can be only a temporary solution because cracked tooth needs dentist attention to repair any problem related to nerves.

Try to stay away from the things which can cause a problem.

Avoid beverages and foods which are hot or cold because cracked tooth directly exposes the inner layers of the tooth which can cause pain.

Avoid beverages and foods which contain high sugar and acidic because these types of foods can irritate the nerves inside the tooth.

Ease your sensitive tooth pain

If you have a severe condition, then temporary remedies may relieve tooth pain for some time, but the pain arises again. Visit your dentist every six months for better dental care.

Your doctor may recommend you the following medicine.

OTC- Over the counter

You can reduce your general sensitive tooth pain by taking pills like Advil – ibuprofen, and Tylenol – Acetaminophen. Make sure to double-check with your doctor if you are already taking some other medicines for other health-related problems.

Try to reduce the chances of getting teeth sensitivity by maintaining your oral hygiene. It helps to prevent periodontal and receding gum disease. Do the proper brushing and flossing as directed by your dentist. Keep your mouth clean as much as possible. Use low abrasion toothpaste to limit the chances of sensitivity. Remember poor brushing habit can also lead to tooth problem and gum diseases.

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