Contact Us

  • Contact Info
  • P (250) 390-3392
  • F (250) 390-3359
  • E Send Email
  • Clinic Hours
  • 8:30am–5:00pm
  • Monday–Thursday
  • & Some Fridays
  • Our Location
  • 6441 Applecross Road
  • Nanaimo, BC V9V 1K8
  • View Map

Ask Dr. ProtzerWhat causes sensitive teeth?

Learn more about the causes and solutions for sensitive teeth.

Feeling Sensitive?

Do you experience pain after drinking a hot or cold beverage? This pain may indicate the presence of sensitive teeth.

Sensitive teeth can have many causes, including:

  • Improper brushing techniques
  • Consumption of acidic food and drinks (lemon water and citrus fruits are often culprits)
  • Receding gums
  • Clenching and grinding your teeth
  • Stomach acid from GERD, reflux, heartburn, or eating disorders

Keep reading for more information on these causes as well as our list of remedies.

Brushing Techniques

Improper brushing techniques are a common cause of sensitive teeth. If you use a hard toothbrush or do not brush your teeth correctly, you can wear away the protective tooth enamel.

A toothbrush abrasion from powerful and aggressive brushing can be seen at the gum line of teeth. If the bristles of your toothbrush look all curly after one week of use, you are doing it wrong!

Remember: it is a toothbrush, not a toothscrub!

We can assist you with better techniques for a soft manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush.

Acidic Food & Drinks

The regular intake of acidic food and drinks can be the cause of sensitive teeth. Lemon water is very bad for your teeth!

Lemon water is bad for your teeth

We can’t say it enough: lemon water is terrible for your teeth!

You should not brush your teeth immediately after having acidic foods or drinks. The low pH (acidity) causes a softening of the exposed surface of the tooth. If you brush right after consumption of something acidic, you may remove tooth structure. It is better to buffer the acid with water or milk or a mouthwash containing Fluoride and to wait an hour before brushing.

Stomach problems such as reflux and bulimia cause similar issues.

Receding Gums

As you get older, you may find that your gums are receding. Incorrect brushing and flossing techniques can cause gums to recede or pull back, exposing the roots of the teeth.

Once this area is exposed, the chance of sensitivity is greatly increased. This can lead to further problems, such as gum problems or root decay.

Root surfaces are a lot more vulnerable to decay as they don’t have the protective enamel. This occurs more quickly when the saliva flow is reduced.

Clenching and grinding your teeth (a.k.a. “bruxism”) can also lead to sensitivity and loss of tooth substance.

Remedies for Sensitive Teeth

Ultimately, your habits as well as the underlying source of the sensitivity will determine how to effectively treat sensitive teeth. Consistent tooth sensitivity that does not respond to conservative treatments is usually an indication of a more serious problem.

  • Use a proper brushing technique. Don’t hold your toothbrush like a hammer. Hold it like a pen. And please don’t scrub your teeth.
  • Select the right toothbrush. There are various manual and electric toothbrushes on the market. We can help you choose the best toothbrush for your circumstances.
  • Fluoride is the most common agent to help sensitivity. A remineralizing toothpaste with the right amount of fluoride will get rid of sensitivity fast.
  • Stop drinking lemon water! It is very bad for your teeth.
  • Consider a night guard if you grind or clench your teeth. We can help you prevent wear on your teeth by fitting a custom-made night guard.

If you’re concerned about sensitive teeth, or if your tooth sensitivity is so severe that you cannot brush or floss properly, please contact us to arrange for an appointment.

We can find out what is wrong and help you!

The information in this article is presented only as a general guide. A final diagnosis and solution can only be established by tests performed by your dentist.

  Ask Dr. Protzer Contact Us

Top