Sensitive Teeth Need Extra Care

Do you notice a little sting in your teeth or when you eat cold foods like ice cream or try to enjoy a hot cup of coffee or tea?

If so, it’s time to schedule a trip to the dentist to rule out causes like a cavity or a cracked tooth. For many, the problem may be tooth sensitivity —a very common condition that can be caused by a variety of factors. Sensitivity can range from an occasional sting to frequent pain.

As we age, receding gums (gums that move away from teeth) or tooth enamel that has worn too thin exposes root surfaces of teeth, can cause tooth sensitivity.

Other possible causes include brushing too hard and wearing down enamel; developing gum disease (gingivitis) temporarily irritating teeth with whitening products; grinding or clenching; eating acidic foods or using acidic mouthwashes; or experiencing temporary sensitivity following routine dental procedures.

Consult with your dentist for the best way to treat your sensitive teeth. He or she will begin by ruling out or treating serious dental problems. Your dentist can determine whether you need a professionally applied fluoride gel, desensitizing paste or a dental sealant to strengthen enamel and reduce sensitivity and can also recommend a desensitizing toothpaste that helps block transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve with regular use.

Colgate has formulated desensitizing toothpastes that can give you long-lasting results. All variants of Colgate® Sensitive toothpaste contain fluoride and potassium for cavity protection and sensitivity relief. Your dentist may use the Colgate® Sensitive Pro-Relief Desensitizing Paste as an in-office treatment to give you immediate relief that lasts up to four weeks. Colgate also offers a soft-bristle toothbrush specifically designed for sensitive teeth.

Visit for more details on the causes of sensitive teeth and treatment options.

© 2017 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

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 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.