What Is Causing My Tooth Sensitivity?

Brunette woman wearing a yellow blouse touches her cheeks in pain due to tooth sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is a common condition that may affect up to 1 in every 8 Americans. While the condition can occur at any time, winter weather can cause more folks to notice their tooth sensitivity. Chilly winter winds can not only make your teeth chatter, they can also produce a sharp pain as cold air hits sensitive teeth.

Sensitive teeth are caused by several factors, but today our Queensboro Plaza Dental Care team wants to focus on two of the most common: damaged enamel and receding gums, which both expose the sensitive inner layers of your teeth.

Damaged Tooth Enamel

While the protective enamel that covers your teeth is the hardest surface in your body, it can be damaged. Although weakened enamel cannot regrow, it can be strengthened. Dr. Nguyen may recommend a fluoride mouthwash, fluoride varnish, or fluoridated toothpaste to help fortify enamel through a process called remineralization. Diet, oral hygiene, and teeth grinding (bruxism) are often the culprits behind enamel damage.


A diet high in tooth-damaging foods and drinks (such as those high in acid and/or added sugar, like coffee, citrus, tomatoes, candy, white bread, soda, sports drinks, wine, potato chips, etc.) can lead to weakened enamel over time.

Oral Hygiene

Poor oral hygiene allows bad bacteria in your mouth to build up, irritate your gums, and produce acidic byproducts as they digest your dietary sugar that dissolves enamel.


Nighttime teeth grinding and clenching can also wear down your enamel, so it’s best to get a custom-fitted nightguard to protect your teeth.

Receding Gums & Gum Disease

Gums can recede for a few reasons, but there’s one thing that has a huge impact on gum recession: brushing your teeth. If you gently brush your teeth correctly (twice a day for two minutes each time) and floss daily, you’re well on your way to limiting the buildup of bad bacteria that can cause gums to become inflamed and infected.

On the other hand, some patients brush so vigorously that they irritate their gums, which can cause them to recede. To avoid irritating your gums, use a soft-bristled brush and brush your teeth gently for the full two minutes. Brush using small gentle circles instead of an aggressive saw-like pattern. If you struggle with applying a safe amount of pressure, consider investing in an electric toothbrush with a pressure sensor and internal timer to make brushing a bit easier.

Consult with Our Expert Team!

Although damaged enamel and receding gums are some of the most common causes of tooth sensitivity, other causes are possible. The only way to know for certain is to schedule an appointment with Dr. Nguyen. To ask our team any questions or schedule an appointment, contact our dental office in Long Island City today.

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Queensboro Plaza Dental Care

Queensboro Plaza Dental Care