Get to the root of your sensitive teeth

Posted on: 26 February 2015


Tooth sensitivity is very common and affects all ages, although particularly those aged between 20 and 40 years. Sensitive teeth often cause pain when you're eating something hot or cold. The sudden change in temperature will hit the nerve to cause the pain. Rather than give up the ice cream or hot coffee, try to find the cause of your sensitive teeth to treat it. Here are four causes and some treatments which may help.  

Brushing too hard

Yes, brushing is good for your teeth but brushing too hard can wear your teeth down. With each rough brushing sessions you're wearing away at the protective layer of enamel on your teeth, and enamel doesn't grow back.

Treatment: Try using a soft or medium toothbrush instead of hard bristles. Don't put too much pressure onto the toothbrush and, while you should brush thoroughly, be gentle.  

Tooth whitening toothpastes

Sometimes that perfect smile comes at a price. Toothpastes with whitening chemicals can wear at the enamel of your teeth or may contain something that you're particularly sensitive too, effectively causing a minor allergic reaction.

Treatment: If you use whitening toothpaste and your teeth are starting to cause you pain, try switching to a non-whitening toothpaste.  

Over swilling the mouthwash

Mouthwash is arguably good for your teeth too, but as with brushing too much can be a bad thing. The chemicals in the mouthwash can irritate your gums, erode your enamel or cause a minor reaction with your body.

Treatment: Have a go at creating your own mouthwash using baking powder, water and peppermint oil. If that doesn't appeal, you could buy a fluoride neutral mouthwash or skip the mouthwash and concentrate on brushing and flossing.  

A cracked tooth

If your sensitive tooth pain is getting worse and more frequent, you may have a chipped or cracked tooth. A cracked tooth exposes the nerve within the tooth, and so anything that touches it will cause pain. This is more serious than the above causes so if your pain is getting worse, speak to your dentist.

Treatment: This depends on your individual case. Your dentist will be able to diagnose a chipped or cracked tooth and recommend appropriate treatment. This could be filling the tooth, filing a chip down or, in severe cases, extraction of the damaged tooth.

Sensitive teeth are common and treatable, once you figure out what the cause is. If you are concerned or in a lot of pain, speak to your dentist as soon as possible. They will be able to give you a diagnosis a lot quicker than through trial and error.