There are several reasons why tooth sensitivity to cold can occur, they may include:

  • Thin Tooth Enamel
  • Gum Recession
  • Toothbrush Abrasions
  • Tooth Decay
  • Cracked or Worn enamel
  • Acidity / Diet

Thin Tooth Enamel - The enamel is the glass-like outer surface of the tooth - it covers the dentine which overlays the pulp or nerve of the tooth.  When the enamel is quite thin the distance to the sensitive parts of the tooth is reduced resulting in... Ouch!!

The classic sensitive spot is the behind the lower front teeth - Ice Cream Tooth Ache :(

Gum Recession - can be a result of the gum migrating down the tooth. This can be caused by gum disease or vigorous brushing.  The two main aims to prevent gum recession are:

  1. To reduce recession, use a soft bristled toothbrush, a less abrasive toothpaste, brushing in a  light circular action angling the bristles of the toothbrush into to the gums, rather than hard back and forth action. Hold the toothbrush like a pen using little force rather than a firm grasp. Another alternative is to use an electric toothbrush.
  2. To reduce the sensitivity we recommend you use a toothpaste specially designed to reduce sensitivity. This type of toothpaste contains very little or no abrasive, so it is gentle on your teeth. For very sensitive teeth, place a pea-sized drop of toothpaste on the tip of your finger and rub over the area of recession, leaving the toothpaste to dissipate on its own accord. Having the paste in contact with the tooth for the longer period of time will encourage the paste to work more effectively.

Toothbrush Abrasions – Once again caused by vigorous brushing that wears the gum away and also wear ridges into the tooth, resulting in exposed sensitive tubules.

The abrasions may require

  1. Changing the technique of brushing (or switching to an electric toothbrush)
  2. Use of a de-sensitising type toothpaste.
  3. Restoration of the defect with special tooth coloured filling to repair the scrubbed tooth to replace the enamel destroyed by vigorous brushing.

Decay – This occurs a result of the bacteria contained in plaque using the sugars that we eat to produce an acid.  This acid destroys healthy tooth and requires attention by a dentist, who will remove the decay and place a restoration.  Prevention of decay is a priority and this can be achieved through cleaning in between the teeth with floss or piksters, correct tooth brushing, use of fluoride gels and pastes and correct diet (limiting sugar and acid containing food and drinks).

Fractures or cracked teeth. – Our teeth can be placed under enormous stress and strain. The strongest tooth is a tooth that has never been restored. Once restorations are required this starts to compromise the strength of the tooth and over a period of time stress and fracture lines may appear in the enamel.  The larger the restoration the larger the amount of stress that is placed on the remaining enamel.  These fracture lines can flex when biting down firmly, this may open the stress line and expose the sensitive part of the tooth.  If left for long periods of time this may result in pieces of tooth breaking off or the nerve in the tooth becoming diseased or in extreme cases the tooth splitting in two.  If your tooth sensitivity is due to fracture lines in the enamel the dentist will recommend a plan for further treatment.

Acid – A diet high in acidity can cause tooth sensitivity. Examples of high acidity food items are fizzy drinks, fruit juices, red and white wine. Frequent consumption of these can promote tooth sensitivity. Tummy acid on the teeth from gastric reflux and morning sickness can also result in tooth sensitivity. We recommend that the consumption of high acid foods be kept to a minimum. When we exercise and rapidly breathe through our mouths the teeth will dry out and they become more chalky and susceptible to acid attack. After exercising it is best to avoid sugar or acid containing sports drinks as these can contribute to enamel wear at a time when the teeth are most susceptible.


Get Directions