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What Causes Tooth Sensitivity To Cold Foods

Reports of tooth sensitivity to cold drinks and foods is a common dental complaint voiced by many patients. Severe dental issues do not usually cause sensitivity to cold. However, you should still consult with your dental professional to be on the safe side.

What Causes Sensitivity To Cold Items?

Gum Recession
Gum recession is the most common cause of sensitivity to cold foods. When the gum tissue shrinks or moves away from the teeth, the roots of the teeth become exposed. Once exposed, the softer and more porous dentin layer is left unprotected. The dentin layer has tiny, hollow tubules which contain fluid. The fluid in the dentin tubules transmits signals to the tooth nerve which triggers sensitivity or pain.

Acid Wear
When the teeth are exposed to acids continuously, it causes thinning of the tooth’s enamel. Thinner enamel causes the teeth to become more sensitive to temperature. Examples of foods or drinks containing acids are coffee, wine, tea, tomatoes, oranges, strawberries, etc.

GERD – Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
GERD also causes acid erosion or acid wear to the teeth, especially the back of the teeth. Bulimia also causes acid damage to the back of the teeth due to frequent vomiting.

Grinding or Clenching Teeth
Constant grinding of the teeth will cause the teeth to become flatter and shorter on the top surface. This wearing away of the top of the teeth exposes the underlying dentin layer which is more sensitive to temperature than the harder enamel layer.

teeth whitening strips

Frequent Teeth Whitening
Frequent use of whitening products cause increased tooth sensitivity temporarily. Most whitening toothpaste tends to be abrasive when compared to regular toothpaste. The abrasive quality thins or strips down the enamel.

If you experience sensitivity to hot and cold items both, you may have a dental cavity. You should see your dentist to confirm the cause.

Broken Down Fillings
Dental fillings can break down or weaken over time which leads to small cracks in the tooth that cause tooth sensitivity. Replacement of the fillings will be necessary if damage is discovered.

Call us today to schedule your dental visit to discuss tooth sensitivity.