Treating Sensitive Teeth

Are You Experiencing Tooth Sensitivity?

Particularly hot cup of coffee? Biting into ice cream? Ouch! We’ve all been there. No one wants to experience that horrible, sharp pain that shoots up your tooth, through the root, and basically into your brain. For some, brushing and flossing brings on the pain as well. Simply put, you may be experiencing tooth sensitivity. Sensitive teeth are a common product of worn tooth enamel or even an exposed tooth root… yet sometimes there are other contributing factors to tooth sensitivity.

Tooth Sensitivity | The Root of the Cause (pun intended)

Thankfully, tooth sensitivity is treatable in both adults and children…but what is causing your tooth sensitivity?

Rough Brushing & Flossing

Brushing your teeth roughly does not make for cleaner teeth, nor does violently flossing. Buy a toothbrush with soft bristles and take your time. Because this is common in both adults and children – parents, it is very important that you practice and teach your children good oral hygiene habits, such as how to gently yet properly floss and brush. With more care, your teeth should not be as sensitive with time.

Toothpaste & Mouthwash

Many types of toothpaste that have tooth-whitening chemicals may be too strong for your teeth. This makes your enamel more sensitive. Instead, try a toothpaste brand aimed at sensitive teeth. While this solution doesn’t work for everyone, it may be your quick tooth sensitivity fix. Or for kids, try a mild-flavored toothpaste as opposed to bubblegum or other strong flavors. Same thing goes for mouthwash.

Some mouthwash formulas contain alcohol and other strong chemicals that could be irritating your teeth and rendering them more sensitive. Either try a more neutral rinse or skip it altogether to focus on flossing and brushing more thoroughly.


Teeth grinding, or bruxism puts pressure on your teeth and gums, and can seriously distress teeth in both adults and children for different reasons. The grinding wears down enamel and can even expose the dentin, part of the inner tooth.
Bruxism can even lead to cracked teeth! While some children grow out of bruxism and some adults-only suffer bruxism through bouts of stress, etc. – a nightguard may be the perfect fix for to keep your teeth from rubbing together while sleeping or clenching your jaw.

Acidic Foods

Foods and beverages that have a higher acidic content can actually wear down the enamel of your teeth. Try to steer clear from eating too much citrus fruit, tomatoes, pickles, and yogurt, for example. Sodas, fruit juices, and sports drinks are high in sugar and very acidic, so go easy on them as well. A sweet tooth can quickly turn into a sensitive tooth.

Chipped or Cracked Teeth

Kids are adventurous and yet sometimes clumsy. Adults too! Cracking or chipping a tooth by falling, or when chewing a hard snack, may be the cause of that exposed tooth root and pain. Get to your pediatric dentist quickly for tooth treatment and repair. The severity of the chip or crack will determine whether you need dental bonding or a crown.


Adults get them. Kids get them. Either way, they are annoying! Proper brushing and flossing can prevent them and the gnarly sensitivity that sometimes accompanies cavities. To treat a problematic cavity, you may be in need of a filling or other restorative dentistry.


It is possible to have sensitive teeth from genetic issues such as enamel hypoplasia or dentinogenesis imperfect? These genetic disorders either affect the enamel or formation of dentin. Fillings, bonding, and crowns are treatment options that can help to protect your teeth in these situations.

Gum Disease

Great oral hygiene should keep gum disease away, but unfortunately, some people fall to the wayside. Gum (periodontal) disease is more often seen in adults due to wear and tear over time, yet some children, unfortunately, develop gum disease, which often leads to extreme sensitivity in teeth. Depending on the severity, non-surgical or surgical treatment may be necessary.

Are you dealing with sensitive gums? This is different from sensitive teeth — different symptoms, causes, and treatments. Check back in next week for the 411 on sensitive gums in adults and children!

Adults may experience tooth sensitivity due to receding gums and tooth decay, and children mostly notice tooth sensitivity because of cavities and rough brushing – no matter the cause, there is help for that smile. Start with a great oral hygiene regimen at home, and don’t forget to get routine dental check ups. Contact your Nashville pediatric dentist about tooth sensitivity and what may be causing yours! Request an appointment online today.