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When Does Tooth Sensitivity Become a Big Issue?

Tooth ouch

Tooth sensitivity may be your mouth’s way of communicating with you that there is an issue that needs to be addressed. Think of sensitivity as the way our teeth try to tell us that something may be wrong.

You may experience this when you bite into that deliciously frozen popsicle or sip on your favorite cinnamon-hot chocolate. If your teeth are sensitive to these stimuli, and the pain is short lived, you probably do not have a big reason to worry. However, if the pain is persistent or confined to a specific tooth or area in the mouth, it may mean you have a cracked tooth, cavity, or damaged filling.

Always pay close attention to these signs. Many of us will try to convince ourselves that it’s just “a little toothache” or that it will be “fine in a little while.”

Don’t wait for the pain to keep growing. If you notice a consistent pain, be sure to tell us about it at your next visit.

What are some of the common causes for tooth sensitivity?

  • Receding Gums – Brushing your teeth too forcefully may cause your gums to “run away.” You may think that the harder you brush the better, but this is not true. You may be causing damage to the soft tissue of the gums by brushing to forcefully, causing your gums to recede, which can play a major role in tooth sensitivity. The proper way is to use a soft-bristle brush and a circled stroke when you brush, and always brush (at least) for 2 minutes.
  • Grinding Your Teeth – Bruxism (grinding of the teeth) is when you grind, gnash, or clench your teeth. Often people who do this are unaware they are doing it, such as at night while they are asleep. The wear and tear that happens to your teeth because of this can cause immense sensitivity and lead to extensive dental treatment. However, with the help of mouth guards, this can easily be avoided.
  • You Are What You Drink – Acidic beverages can take a toll on the enamel of your teeth. This includes soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, such as Gatorade and PowerAde, and alcoholic beverages. If you indulge in the deliciousness of these beverages, it is best to rinse your mouth with water afterwards or, even better, brush each time you do so.
  • Damaged or Cracked Teeth – This problem will often expose the nerve of a tooth, leaving it vulnerable to anything it comes in contact with. A chipped or broken tooth can be the gateway to severe sensitivity. This often leads to dental treatment, such as root canalsfillings, or extraction. If you know that your tooth is sensitive because of those leftover kernels of popcorn that got the best of you at the bottom of the bowl, seeing a professional (us) as soon as possible is going to help you avoid days, weeks, or even months of oral pain.
  • Age – Tooth sensitivity is just another stepping stone when it comes to human aging. As we get older our teeth feel the years of talking and the outcome of chewing on delicious bites of our favorite, but often damaging, snacks. Food may sustain the body, but it can have a negative effect on our teeth

These are among the most common reasons that you may be experiencing tooth sensitivity, but always keep in mind that the cringe you feel in your spine and your soul when you bite into a perfectly chilled piece of watermelon, may be your mouth telling you that there is a bigger issue that needs to be addressed.

Contact our office today for more information and learn what it is your sensitive teeth are trying to tell you.


  1. April Cook on September 12, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    I had no idea that sports drinks could be damaging my teeth. I usually don’t have the option to brush wight when I drink them, so I’ll make sure to rinse with water. Would it still be helpful to brush as soon as I am done with a workout or game, or would that be too far after drinking them to make a difference?

    • Monique Monique on September 12, 2016 at 6:29 pm

      We do recommend brushing 30 minutes after eating or drinking. If you can’t brush, rinsing with water will help a lot.

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