Do you suffer from tooth sensitivity?

You love to eat ice cream, or drink ice water…but your teeth don’t like it! If you find that your teeth are sensitive to very cold or hot foods, you probably change what you eat or how you eat it to avoid the pain of sensitive teeth. Tooth sensitivity is the discomforting feeling mostly of pain one a person experiences when they drink or eat something cold or hot, sweets, touch the tooth with other teeth or the tongue or even when you breathe in cool air. Dentists describe this feeling as Dentin Hypersensitivity or Root Sensitivity.

What causes tooth sensitivity?

  • Acidic foods – Regularly eating acidic foods can erode the outer covering of the tooth (Enamel) leaving you susceptible to teeth sensitivity
  • Brushing too hard – Toothbrush companies manufacture different types of tooth brushes (hard to soft bristles). We always recommend a soft or super soft toothbrush to prevent abrasion from a hard brush.
  • Constant teeth grinding – Grinding or clenching your teeth overstresses the teeth, creating cracks and wear, which can worsen tooth pain.
  • Teeth whitening procedures – teeth whitening products can cause temporary temperature sensitivity, especially with overuse of over-the-counter products.
  • Gum disease – Bone loss and gum tissue loss around teeth exposes root surfaces, making teeth more sensitive.

How can I help my tooth sensitivity?

Start by using a soft toothbrush at all times – and change it every three months, or when the bristles start to look worn.  Next, reduce your intake of acidic or sugary foods to prevent erosion. Use a toothpaste specially made to help with tooth sensitivity. Sensodyne is one brand, but most toothpaste companies now have a formulation for sensitive teeth.

What if nothing seems to help?

Contact your dentist and schedule an examination, and include dental xrays. Sensitive teeth can be a sign that you have a cavity or a filling that needs to be replaced.  In our office, we can sometimes use a special dental laser to lessen or stop your sensitivity – contact our office for more information.

Dr. Andrea Stevens is a cosmetic and family dentist in practice in Kanata, Ontario. If you have dental questions, you can call her at 613-271-7091 or visit her at Please also feel free to leave comments or questions below, and Dr. Stevens will be happy to answer!