Montefiore Department of Dentistry | Tooth Sensitivity Causes

By Montefiore Medical Center
October 15, 2016

If drinking hot or cold beverages makes you wince in pain, you likely have sensitive teeth, a condition that’s caused by worn tooth enamel. When your enamel starts to erode, it exposes the second layer of your tooth called dentin, which contains tubules that lead to the nerves and blood vessels of your teeth. When these tubules are irritated, it can cause teeth sensitivity and pain. But what makes your teeth so sensitive? Here are some of the main culprits:

  • Brushing too hard. Aggressive brushing, using a hard-bristled brush, or brushing too frequently can wear down your tooth enamel and cause your gums to pull away from tooth roots. Use a soft-bristled brush and firm, circular strokes when brushing.
  • Grinding your teeth. Many people grind their teeth without even knowing it. But it could be one of the reasons for your tooth sensitivity. If your sensitivity is coupled with sore jaw muscles when you wake up in the morning, it could be due to teeth grinding. Talk to your dentist about a mouth guard or other ways to prevent further damage.
  • Gum recession. If you notice that your gums are pulling away from your teeth, you have receding gums. This leaves the root surface and the nerve branches inside the root exposed. Talk to your dentist to help identify the cause and how to treat it.
  • Acidic foods. Eating citrus fruits, tomatoes, yogurt, and drinking orange juice and sports drinks can contribute greatly to tooth sensitivity by eroding your tooth enamel. Consider limiting your intake of acidic foods to see if it makes a difference. And if you can’t go without these foods, eat a piece of cheese or drink milk after you eat.
  • Bleaching. Tooth whiteners and certain toothpastes contain peroxide-based bleaching compounds that can lead to sensitive teeth. Consider switching to a different toothpaste to eliminate sensitivity.

Want to learn more about treating tooth sensitivity? Contact the Montefiore Department of Dentistry.
For more information about any of the services we offer, please contact Drs. Kraut, Rogoff, Newsome and Kakanantadilok. Our office is located in the Bronx and can be reached at 888-700-6623. We look forward to meeting you!

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