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Tooth Sensitivity - Causes, Treatment and Home remedies

Published on Apr 24, 2017 and last reviewed on Dec 19, 2022   -  3 min read


The sensitivity of tooth is one of the most common dental problems that each one of us faces at some stage of our life. This article deals with the causes, treatments, home remedies, and preventive measures to deal with teeth sensitivity.

Tooth Sensitivity - Causes, Treatment and Home remedies

Tooth Sensitivity, termed as dentinal hypersensitivity, causes short lasting sharp pain in a single tooth or multiple teeth. It occurs when teeth come in contact with hot, cold, sweet, and acidic foods or due to exposure of teeth to air.

Important Points

  1. Teeth sensitivity can cause serious discomfort and inability to eat or drink, due to the short bouts of sharp pain.
  2. It occurs when the top layer of teeth (enamel) wears off due to many causes, leading to exposure of the inner softer and sensitive layer (dentin).
  3. It affects almost 2 to 3 people, out of 10 individuals.
  4. The age group that gets affected are young adults to middle-aged people.
  5. Many treatment modalities and remedies can help in relieving sensitivity.

Major Causes

  • Vigorous Brushing: If you have a habit of brushing teeth with a lot of pressure, then you may tend to wear off the enamel layer, which will make your teeth sensitive. Other reasons can be using a very hard toothbrush, brushing teeth for long durations, and long-term use of whitening toothpaste as they have more of abrasives, which cause dental abrasion.
  • Teeth Grinding or Bruxism: The constant grinding action of teeth causes loss of enamel layer, exposing inner sensitive layer that is dentin.
  • Acidic and Citrus Food: Individuals who take ample amounts of citrus and acidic foods like soft drinks, sauces, pickles, etc. tend to lose more minerals from the teeth making them sensitive.
  • Gum Diseases: If you have deep gum infection then it can cause gum recession and root surface exposure, which will make your teeth sensitive.
  • Tooth Infection and Fracture: If you have deep decay with exposed nerves or tooth fractures due to sudden heavy biting forces or trauma, then these conditions can make your teeth sensitive.
  • Dental Treatment: Teeth can become sensitive post an orthodontic treatment, root canal treatment, broken fillings, or crown placement. But these are temporary.
  • Systemic Conditions: Certain medical conditions like acid reflux, peptic ulcers, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia can cause teeth sensitivity by dental erosion.


  • Symptoms of dental hypersensitivity include short bouts of sudden pain on exposure to hot, cold, acidic, sweet foods, and fluids. It subsides once the irritant is removed.

Treatment Options for Tooth Sensitivity

  • Desensitizing Toothpaste: For mild to moderate tooth sensitivity, individuals are advised to apply anti-sensitivity toothpaste.They work by closing or occluding the dentinal tubules. Applying the paste over the teeth and leaving it for about 30 seconds and then brushing your teeth will help in reducing sensitivity.
  • Other Agents: Certain other agents that can assist in occluding the dentinal tubules are fluoride varnish and dentine adhesives. If sensitivity does not resolve with desensitizing toothpaste, then other in-office treatment techniques are used.
  • Dental Cement: If there is any cavity or loss of tooth structure, then dental cement like glass ionomer cement, composite resins, etc. can be used. It will relieve the sensitivity as well as also repair the tooth defect.
  • Lasers: CO2 laser and Nd: YAG lasers can be used if other management techniques do not work.

Home Remedies

Following home remedies can provide you some relief from mild tooth sensitivity, although if there is some underlying pathology, then a professional advice and treatment are mandatory.

  1. Mix a tablespoon of mustard oil and rock salt, apply this gently over the teeth. Leave it for a minute and then rinse off.
  2. You should gargle with warm saline solution twice a day.


  1. You should not brush your teeth for more than two minutes. Hold your brush in a pen grip to avoid excessive pressure application and use a soft toothbrush only.
  2. Limit the intake of soft drinks, avoid acidic foods, excessive use of mouthwash. Drink plenty of water.
  3. If you have teeth grinding or clenching habit, consult your dentist and get a mouth guard made.
  4. If there is any dental problem present, get it treated as early as possible.
  5. If you have any underlying pathology like acid reflux, then treatment of the same should be done.

For more information consult a tooth sensitivity specialist online -->

Frequently Asked Questions


How do you stop pain radiating from sensitive teeth?

Some tips to prevent sensitive teeth from hurting are:
- Use desensitizing toothpaste.
- Avoid drinking aerated drinks and eating acidic food.
- Use fluoridated mouthwash.
- Get all tooth decay filled.
- Get a mouth guard to prevent night grinding.
- For severely decayed teeth, go for root canal treatment.


How does a sensitive tooth feel like?

A sensitive tooth will give sharp and sudden flashes of pain when exposed to cold, sweet, air, acidic, or hot food items.


Is cavity always the cause for tooth sensitivity?

No, a cavity is one of the many causes of tooth sensitivity. The other causes include:
- Brushing your teeth vigorously.
- Using a hard toothbrush.
- Bruxism (grinding your teeth at night).
- Consuming acidic foods and beverages.


What are the ways to strengthen sensitive teeth?

Unfortunately, once the enamel from the tooth is lost, you cannot regrow it, but some tips to strengthen your teeth are:
- Avoid eating and drinking acidic beverages.
- Use toothpaste and mouthwash containing fluoride.
- Do not apply unnecessary force to clean your teeth.
- Use a soft brush.


What are the types of tooth sensitivity?

The types of tooth sensitivity are based on the symptoms you experience. The types are:
- Sensitivity to cold and hot foods.
- Sensitivity while biting or chewing.
- Dull ache with sensitivity.
- Constant and severe pain with sensitivity.


How long does sensitivity last in a tooth?

Your tooth will be sensitive unless you get the underlying cause treated. If the sensitivity is after getting a tooth filled or after getting your tooth cleaned, the sensitivity will usually go away after 4 to 6 weeks.


Does washing your mouth with salt water help sensitive teeth?

Washing your mouth with salt mixed with lukewarm water helps reduce pain and tooth sensitivity. Salt helps reduce inflammation and is an effective antiseptic.


How can a dentist help treat sensitive teeth?

Your dentist might help you by applying a fluoride gel or stronger desensitizing topical agents.


How to naturally desensitize teeth?

Some natural remedies for sensitive teeth are desensitizing toothpaste, saltwater mouthwash, hydrogen peroxide mouth rinse, honey and warm water, and by applying turmeric on teeth.

Last reviewed at:
19 Dec 2022  -  3 min read




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