You’ve had one of those days, so you opt for a little “ice cream therapy”. As that icy
treat hits your teeth, suddenly you feel a stab of pain like an electric shock zinging
through your mouth. If this sounds familiar, you may be suffering from tooth sensitivity.
Other symptoms may include pain when eating hot, acidic, or sticky-sweet foods and
In healthy teeth, a nice, hard layer of tooth enamel protects the nerve-filled material
inside called dentin. Further down the root of a tooth, the dentin is protected by a hard
layer of tissue called cementum. When either of the protective coverings of enamel or
cementum are compromised, the result can be sensitivity or pain that shouldn’t be
There can be many causes of tooth sensitivity, and here are a few thing that might be
causing your discomfort:
-You brush so aggressively that you’re wearing your tooth enamel down! If you use a
hard bristle toothbrush, and use a lot of pressure while brushing, consider changing to a
soft bristle toothbrush, and being more gentle in your brushing technique.
-You eat and drink a lot of highly acidic foods like regular or diet sodas, grapefruit and
lemons, sports drinks, etc. The acid can make your tooth enamel soft and prone to
damage, so if tooth pain is triggered when you eat or drink certain highly-acidic foods, it
might be time to reduce or cut those items out altogether from your diet.
-You grind your teeth, and clench your jaw, which can cause your tooth enamel to
weaken or wear away. Since you may be grinding your teeth while you’re asleep, you
may not even be aware that you have this habit. Sometimes, day-time tooth sensitivity
can be a clue that you’re a night-time teeth grinder. A custom mouth-guard can usually
provide relief and protection for your teeth.
Other causes of tooth sensitivity may include gum recession, gingivitis, cracked teeth,
plaque build-up, long term use of mouthwash, and even some tooth-whitening products.
No matter the cause of your tooth sensitivity, the best thing you can do for yourself is to
book an appointment with your dentist to discuss ways to reduce or eliminate your
discomfort. Since most tooth sensitivity can be treated, chances are you’ll be able to
indulge again in little “ice cream therapy” before you know it!