Sensitive teeth make it hard for you to eat and drink
  • Patient Education

Sensitive Teeth: Common Causes and Solutions

Sensitive teeth aren’t just an irritation. They can also make it hard for you to eat and drink. For the most part, sensitive tooth pain is sharp, sudden, and temporary. The pain usually occurs when teeth are exposed to cold air or hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods. If you suffer from sensitive teeth, learn more about some of the common causes and different solutions you can try to get some relief.

Common Causes of Sensitive Teeth

Developing sensitive teeth can happen to anyone. Eroded enamel or exposed roots usually cause tooth sensitivity. However, teeth can become sensitive for a variety of reasons. The following are some of the most common causes of sensitive teeth.

Teeth Whitening

Many people turn to teeth whitening to remove surface stains and discolouration for a whiter smile. However, what they might not realize is that those whitening treatments can also cause tooth sensitivity. Peroxide, which is one of the main ingredients in many teeth whitening products, can irritate the tooth nerve.

Brushing Too Hard

Brushing too hard or using a toothbrush that has hard bristles can wear down the enamel on teeth and cause the dentin to become exposed. Brushing too hard can also lead to gum recession and root exposure. This is why many dental professionals recommend that you use a soft-bristle toothbrush.

Irregular Flossing

Just like brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing is an important part of your dental hygiene routine. Flossing at least once a day prevents plaque from building up on your teeth. This reduces your chances of tooth sensitivity, gum disease, and receding gums.


Demineralization occurs when the mineral content in the tooth enamel decreases. When the enamel starts to break down, teeth become more sensitive, and it’s easier for plaque to infect a tooth’s vulnerable interior. Since enamel isn’t a growing tissue, it can’t be regenerated or restored once it’s gone. Sugary drinks and acidic foods are the main cause of demineralization, so it’s best to avoid them as much as possible.

Teeth Grinding

Do you catch yourself grinding your teeth during the day or waking up in the morning with a sore jaw? Not only can teeth grinding wear down your teeth or possibly even chip or crack a tooth, but it also causes damage to the tooth’s enamel and exposes the inner layer of dentin, which makes your teeth more susceptible to both sensitivity and decay.


Your diet can also play a big role in your sensitive teeth. Regularly consuming acidic drinks and acidic foods, such as pickles, tea, tomatoes, and citrus fruits, can cause enamel to erode, which increases the likelihood of sensitivity.

Solutions for Sensitive Teeth

While numerous things can cause sensitive teeth, the good news is that a variety of dental treatments and procedures can help protect sensitive teeth. If you’re suffering from sensitive teeth, your dentist might recommend trying one of the following solutions.

Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are one solution for sensitive teeth your dentist might recommend. Dental sealants are a thin resin coating that your dentist can paint onto your teeth to help reduce sensitivity. It’s important to keep in mind that dental sealants are only temporary and will eventually wear off.

Mouth Guard

If teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is causing your sensitive teeth, your dentist might recommend that you wear a mouth guard when you sleep at night. You can purchase mouth guards that you mold at home, or your dentist can make a mold of your teeth and produce a custom-fitted mouth guard. Not only can a mouth guard help reduce pain caused by sensitive teeth, but it may also relieve any jaw joint pain and headaches you’re experiencing.

Fluoride Varnish

A fluoride gel or varnish is an extremely concentrated type of fluoride. Your dentist can apply the fluoride to your teeth to help reduce some of the pain and discomfort caused by tooth sensitivity. A fluoride varnish can also help strengthen your enamel and dentin.

Bonding Agent

If you have sensitive teeth because the roots of the teeth are exposed, your dentist might recommend using a bonding agent to cover the root surface. For this type of sensitive tooth treatment, your dentist will apply the bonding agent over the exposed root to block its exposure and help reduce your pain.

Root Canal

If the above options don’t work and your sensitive teeth are reducing your quality of life, your dentist may recommend a root canal. During a root canal, your dentist will remove the pulp or soft nerve tissues inside your tooth that’s causing your pain and discomfort.

Tooth sensitivity is a prevalent issue that many people face. Now that you understand some of the common causes and solutions to sensitive teeth, you can speak with your dentist today to get help.