Do you wince when your teeth come into contact with hot or cold foods and beverages? If so, you may have sensitive teeth.


There are many things that can cause tooth sensitivity. Let’s take a look at the some of the common causes of this dental malady and steps you can take to bring relief when it occurs:

Hard Brushing

If you brush too hard or use a toothbrush with stiff bristles, it can damage your tooth enamel over time. Many people wrongly assume that using force when brushing one’s teeth helps to clean them better, but tooth brushing is not the same as scrubbing grout lines. There is a reason why dentists recommend two minutes as the standard duration for each tooth brushing session. After the two-minute mark, continued brushing may begin to scratch your teeth instead of cleaning them. In the same way, a soft-bristled toothbrush works just as effectively but is more flexible and gentle on your teeth. By reducing the abrasive nature of regular brushing, you can help to protect your tooth enamel – thus preventing or lessening the impact of tooth sensitivity.

Acidic Food and Beverages

Acidic food and beverages can also damage tooth enamel. Foods with high pH levels – like soda drinks, pickles, red wine and energy drinks – can erode your teeth enamel over time. When acids in the food you consume weaken your teeth and cause demineralisation, they expose your teeth’s inner dentin layer, making your teeth prone to sensitivity. Since acidic foods can temporarily weaken or soften your enamel, brushing your teeth immediately after a meal can cause tiny scratches on your teeth and make them vulnerable to erosion. That's why it's advisable to wait around 20-30 minutes after eating to brush your teeth, so as to minimise damage to your tooth enamel.

Tooth Decay, Broken Teeth or Worn Out Fillings

Poor oral hygiene can also lead to sensitive teeth. As a result of poor hygiene, accumulation of plaque around your gums can cause them to recede, exposing underlying tooth roots and making your teeth prone to sensitivity. To counter this problem, daily brushing and flossing, coupled with twice-yearly dental visits for thorough dental check-and-clean is advised.

Advanced tooth decay can damage the tooth structure protecting the tooth root and cause sensitivity or pain. When decay gets into the root of the tooth, the dentist may prescribe a root canal to remove the infection causing deep decay, and to protect the treated tooth with a dental crown.

Aging tooth fillings may fracture, weaken or decay around the edges, causing bacterial build-up in these areas that leads to enamel breakdown. If tooth sensitivity results, your dentist can easily replace the worn out fillings.

Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding (known as bruxism) is an extremely common problem that wears away the enamel. If your teeth are flattened or worn out by the persistent grinding – usually occurs sub-consciously during sleep – the sensitive dentin layer may be exposed and cause teeth sensitivity. The dentist can prescribe a custom-fitted mouth guard to keep you from damaging your teeth while you sleep.

If you have sensitive teeth, consult a professional dentist for advice and treatment. Contact Face Value Dental on (07) 3221 0677 or visit our web page for more information.