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About Sensitive Teeth

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

Tooth Sensitivity is Caused by the Exposure of Dentine

 

Tooth sensitivity is caused by the gradual exposure of the softer part of your tooth that lies under the tooth enamel, called "dentine". Dentine has tiny tubes ('tubules') 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 sensitive sensation.

Some of the most common dental conditions that can cause sensitive teeth include:

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Brushing Too Hard

Dental hygiene habits such as 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 dentine.

Gum Disease (Gingivitis)

When gum tissue becomes inflamed and weakened from gingivitis (gum disease), you might have sensitive gums and may feel tooth sensitivity because more of the underlying dentine root surface is exposed.

Teeth Grinding

If you've been grinding your teeth when you sleep, or in a habit of clenching your teeth frequently, you may be wearing down enamel and exposing the underlying dentine layer of your tooth.

Receding Gums

A receding gum near the sensitive tooth, caused by conditions such as periodontal disease, can expose the tooth's dentine and cause sensitivity. Brushing too vigorously or frequently can also cause receding gums.

Learn More: Understanding Your Teeth