The causes, prevention and treatment of sensitive teeth

The causes, prevention and treatment of sensitive teeth The Priors Dental Practice Penkridge Stafford Staffordshire

Are you avoiding eating cold or hot foods because your teeth are sensitive? Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common complaints we hear from patients. Many people suffer from sensitive teeth and it can start at any time, although its more common in people aged between 20 and 40, however it can affect people in their early teens and when they are over 70.

Sensitive teeth or ‘Hypersensitivity’ can be caused by many issues including:

  • Gum disease
  • Using a hard grip while brushing harshly, damaging the enamel or making the gum shrink away
  • Teeth erosion due to highly acidic foods and beverages
  • Teeth grinding
  • Teeth decay
  • Worn fillings
  • Cracked teeth
  • Teeth whitening products
  • Age
  • Plaque build up
  • Acidic foods


The inside of your tooth is primarily made up of a material called dentin, which contains microscopic tubules filled with tiny nerve endings. A hard layer of enamel protects the dentin within the crown portion of your tooth. Dentin hypersensitivity occurs when the dentin loses its protective covering of enamel which results in the exposure of the nerve endings to hot, cold, acidic, or sweet/sugaring foods.

You may need to skip hot or cold drinks and foods like ice cream if you have tooth sensitivity. Try warm water instead of cold when brushing. Keep up with regular brushing to avoid worsening the problem.

Prevention of sensitive teeth

There are a number of things you can do to prevent sensitive teeth and these include:

  • Change your toothbrush regularly, particularly if is getting worn
  • Use fluoride toothpaste
  • Brush and floss your teeth twice a day
  • Use small, circular movements with a soft-to medium-bristled brush
  • Don’t brush straight after eating – some foods and drinks can soften the enamel of your teeth, so leave it for at least an hour before you brush
  • If you grind your teeth, talk to your dental team about whether you should have a mouthguard made, to wear at night
  • Visit your dentist regularly

How can you treat sensitive teeth?

In some cases teeth sensitivity goes away on its own, usually after a dental procedure like a filling or root canal treatment.

Using fluoride toothpaste will help strengthen enamel and reduce sensitivity and ease the discomfort, although it doesn’t act straight away and may take several weeks to take full effect.

If you’re suffering from sensitive teeth  then it’s important to visit your dentist as soon as you can for treatment. Book your appointment here at The Priors Dental Practice.