Ouch! Why Are My Teeth Sensitive?

Tooth sensitivity is best defined as a sudden, sharp flash of pain when teeth are exposed to cold, sweet, acidic, or hot foods, as well as bursts of cold air. While an unpleasant condition, it is certainly not uncommon – over 40 million Americans suffer from tooth sensitivity, according to the Academy of General Dentistry.

While tooth sensitivity can never be completely eliminated, there are several steps that you can take to lessen the discomfort and improve the health of your teeth. There are no “at-risk” groups for tooth sensitivity; it can happen to anyone, anytime. Today, we want to define exactly what can cause tooth sensitivity, and what can be done to remedy it.

Brushing Too Hardtwo kids brushing teeth

For a long time, we were convinced that the harder you brushed, the cleaner your teeth would be. However, research now shows that brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can wear down the enamel and cause dentin to become exposed, or encourage gumline recession.

Acidic Foods

Eating lots of acidic foods (citrus fruits, coffee, etc.) can cause a reduction in the enamel on your teeth. Less enamel means exposed dentin, which is the primary cause of tooth sensitivity. Try reducing the amount of acidic food that you eat, and brush your teeth thoroughly after eating highly acidic foods.


Gingivitis, or inflamed gum tissue, can allow exposure of the tooth’s root. If a tooth’ root is exposed, it can be very painful if the root comes into contact with varying temperatures or sweet, sticky foods. Eliminating gingivitis can help secure the root of the tooth to avoid long-term discomfort.

Teeth Grinding

Many people grind their teeth at night. This habit can wear down the enamel of your teeth over time and cause tooth sensitivity. Talk to your dentist about finding the right nighttime mouthguard to stop teeth grinding and avoid further damage to your enamel.

Tooth sensitivity is an extremely common dental ailment that, when recognized, can be drastically reduced to improve your quality of life. Do you believe that you’re suffering from tooth sensitivity? Contact us at Susquehanna Dental Arts today at 717-285-7033 or 717-684-3943 to schedule your next appointment. We look forward to hearing from you!