The Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

causes of tooth sensitivityTooth sensitivity can prevent you from enjoying many of your favorite foods, not to mention the uncomfortable feeling when you breathe in cold air or drink cold beverages. Many people don’t realize that they can be causing tooth sensitivity with the foods they eat or how they care for their teeth.

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

Sensitivity occurs when the enamel that protects the teeth has become thinner or when the gums surrounding the teeth have receded, exposing the dentin, therefore reducing the protection that the enamel and gums provide to the tooth and root.

Acidic Foods

Eating acidic foods can break down the delicate enamel that protects your teeth. Reducing the number of acidic foods and beverages you include in your diet, such as coffee, cranberry juice, and tomato products, can help protect your enamel and reduce sensitivity to temperature and sugars.

Try including foods in your diet that have lower acidity, such as nuts, cheese, and bananas. These foods help to neutralize the acid in your saliva which can help protect teeth.


In some cases, brushing your teeth too aggressively or using a tooth whitening toothpaste that contains harsh abrasives can wear away the enamel much faster than normal wear and tear. Using a toothbrush with extremely stiff bristles can also cause the enamel to break down which is one of the causes of tooth sensitivity.

Brushing Too Hard or Using the Wrong Toothbrush

Brushing your teeth regularly and flossing according to your dentist’s instructions will prevent your enamel from being damaged. However, brushing too hard or using a medium or hard toothbrush can wear away the tooth near the gumline, exposing the root and causing pain. One of the nice features of most electric toothbrushes is they will stop brushing if you are using too much pressure.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is also one of the most common causes of tooth sensitivity, especially if your gums have started to recede. Brushing and flossing regularly, in addition to annual dental cleanings can reduce your risk of gum disease. Using an anti-bacterial mouthwash, such as Listerine, can aid in the prevention of gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Regular routine checkups will allow your dentist to identify areas on your teeth where the enamel may be breaking down. She can also identify the cause and help you find ways to avoid damaging your teeth. Take the time to talk to your dentist about your concerns and follow their instructions when it comes to treating your sensitivity issues. They can reduce your discomfort and help you protect your sensitive teeth.  

At Ultimate Smile Design, we understand how tooth sensitivity can keep you from enjoying the foods you love. Schedule a visit with our caring and courteous dental care team and we’ll help you determine the cause of your tooth sensitivity and come up with an action plan to help you alleviate the pain.