• Dr Firozah Shariati

What to do about sensitive teeth.

If your teeth hurt when you consume hot, cold, sweet or sour food or drinks or in extreme cases simply from breathing in cold air, you may have ‘sensitive teeth’. Sensitivity can be every now and again or frequent, and the level of discomfort experienced can vary though the pain is often described as sharp and sudden.

Although some people naturally have more sensitive teeth than others, if your teeth have become more sensitive suddenly or over time, then you should discuss this with your dentist.


What Causes Sensitive Teeth?


If your teeth are more sensitive than they used to be this may be a sign of a dental problem. Some of the possible causes for increased sensitivity are:

  • Brushing your teeth too hard will not make them cleaner, but it may wear away the protective enamel layer and make them sensitive, so when you brush remember to brush gently and with a ‘soft’ toothbrush.

  • Gum disease can cause your gums to recede, exposing the root surfaces which can trigger sensitivity.

  • Grinding or clenching your teeth can wear away your tooth enamel and usually occurs at night while you are asleep.

  • Erosion of the tooth enamel by acidic drinks and foods, or stomach acid from reflux or vomiting. Pregnancy, eating disorders and conditions such as Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease can increase your risk of erosion, so you should take extra care with your teeth in these situations.

  • Chipped, broken, or decayed teeth can cause the nerve in the tooth to become irritated and sensitive.

  • Recent dental work such as restorations, crowns, fillings and even a routine scale and clean may result in sensitive teeth. Your dentist will normally advise if the treatment you are undertaking may cause sensitivity and will suggest a range of available options to minimise discomfort.

How to avoid sensitive teeth

There are some simple things you can do every day to help minimise the discomfort of sensitive teeth. These include:

  • Avoid overly hot, cold, sweet or sour food & drinks;

  • Brush & floss more gently and on a regular basis;

  • Swap your toothbrush for one with softer bristles;

  • Use a toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth;

A regular check-up and clean will also help to keep tooth sensitivity under control, and even if you find this causes sensitivity then let your dentist know so that they can recommend the best oral hygiene practices to help reduce your discomfort and maintain the health of your teeth.

It’s important to remember that sometimes sensitivity is caused by more serious problems, including tooth decay, a fractured filling, a cracked tooth or even a root canal problem, so it's important to get a proper diagnosis by your dentist.


Talk to us about your sensitive teeth by calling us on 07 3236 2984 or by emailing us at reception@brisbanedental.com.au.

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