Tooth Sensitivity 101: Why it Hurts Like Crazy

Biting down on an icy dessert only to feel discomfort shoot up your head is not fun. Here’s the science behind it all.

When the sweltering heat becomes unbearable, few things in life feel better than downing a fresh bowl of ice kacang. It is a quick relief that works like magic every single time — at least for most of us.

For those with sensitive teeth, eating ice cream — or anything cold for that matter — is like biting down on tiny razors. The pain shoots through the tooth and right into your brain, which is not the most pleasant experience in the world.

But why does tooth sensitivity causes so much discomfort, anyway? And is there anything that can help us bite into life without sensitivity?

Natural Wear and Tear

Your gums pull back and expose the surface underneath — called dentin. Normal wear and tear, for example, exposes enamel and exposes the dentin. This soft layer has thousands of tiny “tubes”, which lead straight to the tooth’s nerve centre. So when something cold hits the dentin, the nerves go into overdrive and register it as sensitivity.

Tooth Sensitivity Infographic

Gum Disease

When you have gum disease, your sore gums tend to pull back as well, thus revealing the roots of your teeth.

Gum Disease

Meet the Solution

For serious cases, your dentist can provide treatments or information that minimize the causes. For example, they may apply a fluoride varnish that strengthens your weaker teeth.

But there are at-home remedies, too, like Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief. You know those “tubes” we talked about? Those are dentin tubules — and they hate Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief, because it plugs and seals them, giving you relief from this irritating sensitivity.

Meet the Solution

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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TOOTH SENSITIVITY

Definition

Tooth sensitivity occurs when the enamel that protects our teeth gets thinner, or when gum recession occurs, exposing the underlying surface, the dentin, thus, reducing the protection the enamel and gums provide to the tooth and root.

Signs & Symptoms

If hot, cold, sweet or very acidic foods and drinks, or breathing in cold air, makes your teeth or a tooth sensitive or painful, then you may have sensitive teeth. Tooth sensitivity can come and go over time.

Is Tooth Sensitivity Cramping Your Style?

Tooth sensitivity can make eating and drinking a painful experience. Try one of our sensitivity relief products that, with continued use, can help prevent future occurrences.