7 Common Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

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7 Common Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

If you feel a sharp pain in your teeth when you drink a cold beverage or bite into a sweet treat, you may have a common dental problem called tooth sensitivity. Sensitivity occurs when the protective tooth enamel wears down, but there are many different causes of enamel erosion. 

Understanding why your teeth are suddenly sensitive can help you get the right treatment and find relief. Here are seven reasons why you might experience tooth sensitivity.

Seven Causes of Sudden Tooth Sensitivity

1: Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard

You can still have sensitive teeth even if you have excellent oral hygiene habits. Brushing your teeth too hard—especially if you use a hard-bristled toothbrush—can gradually wear down your tooth enamel. 

To prevent further sensitivity, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and only gentle pressure. Or, try switching to an electric toothbrush. This can help prevent aggressive brushing, because an electric toothbrush does the intricate work of brushing for you.

2: Gum Disease

Because gum disease causes receding gums, over time it exposes the sensitive roots of your teeth that are not protected by enamel. If your teeth have started to look longer—and especially if your gums are red, tender, and/or swollen—it’s crucial that you visit your dentist for treatment. Untreated gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss, and it can even cause problems in other parts of your body. 

3: Acidic or Sugary Diet

Frequently consuming highly acidic and/or sugary foods and drinks can also erode your tooth enamel over time. Acidic items such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, and coffee can soften your enamel. And sugary items like candy, energy drinks, and soda feed the harmful bacteria that trigger acid attacks. 

Limiting your intake of these items and rinsing your mouth with water can help minimize your risk of sensitivity. It’s also important to wait at least 30 minutes to brush your teeth after eating or drinking something sugary or acidic. Brushing too soon can cause more damage, because the acids temporarily make your tooth enamel softer.  

4: Bruxism

Unconsciously grinding and clenching your teeth is a condition known as bruxism. Over time, bruxism wears down your teeth, making them flatter and exposing the inner dentin. This constant wear and tear contributes to tooth sensitivity, and can even make your teeth chip or crack. A custom night guard can help protect your teeth from the damaging effects of bruxism. 

5: Cavities

One of the main reasons for sensitive teeth is actually cavities. These tiny holes in the tooth enamel expose the dentin inside of your teeth to hot and cold temperatures, causing painful sensitivity. Cavities can also lead to tooth infections, so it’s crucial that you get them filled as soon as possible. 

6: Damaged Fillings

Over time, dental fillings may wear down around the edges, allowing bacteria to enter the tooth. This can cause the already weakened tooth to become sensitive and more decayed. If your sensitivity is only occurring in a tooth with a filling, it may be time for a replacement. 

7: Acid Reflux

Gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux can introduce stomach acids into your mouth, leading to enamel erosion and tooth sensitivity. Managing acid reflux through dietary changes and medication can help preserve your tooth enamel and prevent sensitivity. 

Tooth Sensitivity Treatment in Sun Lakes, Arizona

You should never ignore tooth sensitivity, as it can be a sign of serious problems like gum disease or damaged fillings. Dr. Saba and Associates can expertly diagnose the cause of your tooth sensitivity and provide comprehensive treatment to relieve your pain. If you’re experiencing any kind of tooth pain, please don’t delay. Call our office at 480-895-2111 to schedule an urgent appointment. 


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