Video: What Causes Sensitive Teeth?
Tooth Sensitivity is Caused by the Exposure of Dentin
Tooth sensitivity is caused by the gradual exposure of the
softer part of your tooth that lies under the tooth enamel, called
Dentin has tiny channels that contain nerve endings and are
filled with fluid. Eating or drinking foods and drinks that are
hot, cold or sweet can cause this fluid to move. This fluid
movement causes the nerve endings to react in response, triggering
a twinge of discomfort or a short, sharp pain.
Some of the most common dental conditions that can cause
sensitive teeth include:
Brushing Too Hard
Brushing too frequently, too vigorously or with a hard-bristled
toothbrush can eventually wear down tooth enamel. These can also
cause receding gums, causing further exposure of the
Try using a soft-bristled brush like the Sensodyne® Precision
Toothbrush. It's designed for people with sensitive teeth. Learn
If you teeth grind when you sleep, or if you clench your teeth
throughout the day, you may be wearing down enamel and exposing the
underlying dentin layer of your tooth.
Gum Disease (Gingivitis)
When gum tissue becomes inflamed and weakened from gingivitis
(gum disease), you might have sensitive gums which might lead to
tooth sensitivity because more of the underlying dentin root
surface is exposed.
A receding gum near the sensitive tooth, caused by conditions
such as periodontal disease, can expose the tooth's dentin and
cause sensitivity. Brushing too vigorously or frequently can also
cause receding gums.
Learn More: Understanding Your Teeth