Tooth Sensitivity – What Causes It?

14 / 09 / 2021

If you have ever experienced sharp pain inside the middle of your tooth after eating or drinking, rest assured you are not alone. Tooth sensitivity can affect people of all ages, and it’s something dentists treat regularly. Whilst we can all experience occasional sensitivity (such as when eating ice cream or drinking a hot beverage), ongoing sensitivity is an indicator that you may have a more serious underlying issue. In this blog post, Big Smiles Dental will be sharing some of the common triggers for teeth sensitivity, potential underlying issues and how your dentist can help.


What is Tooth Sensitivity?

Dentine hypersensitivity or root sensitivity can range from mild to severe, and it can be triggered by the consumption of hot, cold, sweet and acidic food and beverage. Some people have naturally sensitive teeth, which can make daily brushing/flossing, eating/drinking, using mouthwash and exposure to cold environmental conditions somewhat painful.

Tooth sensitivity can also be caused by the loss of enamel, which is a protective layer on the teeth which guards against bacteria (plaque). People who do not brush and floss daily and eat an acidic diet have more bacteria on their teeth, which can wear down the enamel layer and expose the dentine of the tooth. This can lead to the development of chronic tooth pain and sensitivity.

Regular visits to the dentist and maintaining a thorough oral hygiene routine will help to ensure your teeth remain healthy and minimise your chances of experiencing tooth sensitivity.


Contributing Factors to Tooth Sensitivity

The following can contribute to the development of tooth sensitivity:

  • Brushing too hard – it is best to use a soft bristled toothbrush with gentle strokes, as using a brush which is too hard or forceful strokes can damage tooth enamel.
  • Acidic food/beverage – try to limit consumption of acidic food and beverages, as these can damage enamel. Always consume a glass of water after consuming them.
  • Tooth Decay and Damaged Teeth – if the dentine of the tooth is exposed, this can cause sensitivity. It is important to seek treatment as soon as possible, with fillings able to stop dentine exposure.
  • Gum Disease – people with gum disease typically experience pain, bleeding, swelling and redness around the teeth. Seeking early treatment will help to avoid serious complications and reduce tooth sensitivity.
  • Bruxism – Tooth grinding can increase sensitivity due to the additional stress, wear and tear.

In addition to the above, many patients find their teeth are more sensitive than usual following dental treatment. This is normal, and sensitivity will go away within a couple of days.


Experiencing Tooth Sensitivity? Visit Big Smiles Dental today

With such a wide range of causes behind sensitive teeth, it is important to understand what may be causing your issue. The team at Big Smiles Dental have a wealth of experience in treating sensitive teeth. If it has been a while since your last check-up, please call today on (02) 9921-1799 to book an appointment.