Sensitive teeth are a very common condition. Sensitive teeth cause brief pain or discomfort when the teeth come in contact with hot or cold temperatures from the air, food, or beverages. Cavities, cracked teeth, eroded teeth, and gum disease are frequent causes of sensitive teeth. Sensitive teeth are treated with special toothpaste, professional dental sealants, crowns or fillings.
Sensitive teeth are caused by conditions that allow hot, cold, sticky, or acidic foods to have contact with the roots of the teeth. Your teeth have a protective covering. Enamel covers the crown or the part of tooth that you can see. Cementum protects the root of the tooth underneath the gum line. Underneath the enamel and cementum is a layer of dentin. Dentin contains tiny canals that extend to the roots of your teeth. If cavities or tooth decay erodes the enamel or cementum, the canals are exposed. Cracked teeth can accelerate the decay process.
Over-brushing teeth and gum disease may also expose dentin. Gum disease causes your gums to recede or move away from your teeth. Cavity causing plaque easily fills the space and can harm the enamel and cementum.
Sensitive teeth can result from several other causes. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and bulimia cause stomach acids to back up into the mouth and erode the teeth. Teeth grinding is a leading cause of tooth fractures that can lead to decay. People the use the illegal drug methamphetamine (“meth”) can experience sensitive teeth from devastating widespread tooth decay. Methamphetamine contains corrosives that severely damage the teeth. It also creates cravings for sugary foods that contribute to tooth decay.
You can reduce your risk of sensitive teeth with good oral hygiene. Brush and floss your teeth per your dentist’s instructions. Use low abrasion toothpaste that is designed for sensitive teeth. Contact your dentist when you experience hypersensitivity.
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The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on February 16, 2022. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.