Do your teeth twinge when you eat or drink certain foods?  Do you suffer from painful teeth due to tooth sensitivity? Do you have sensitive gums? Is your sensitivity a daily problem or perhaps just an occasional annoyance? Chances are you have “dentine hypersensitivity”, another name for sensitive teeth.

Whether your sensitivity is chronic and painful or just an infrequent tooth twinge, Sensodyne can help. This site can help you find answers to all your most common questions, as answered by our own network of dental care professionals. 

Still have questions? Concerned that your sensitivity may indicate a more serious condition? Read on, but be sure to schedule an appointment soon with your own dentist or hygienist as well.


Tooth sensitivity is caused by the gradual exposure of a part your tooth that lies under the tooth enamel, called “dentin”. Dentin is filled with tiny microscopic tubules that act as pathways to allow hot or cold foods to come in direct contact with the nerve, causing an unpleasant twinge or painful sensation.

Some of the most common dental conditions that can cause sensitive teeth include:

Teeth grinding

If your teeth grind when you sleep, or if you clench your teeth throughout the day, you may be wearing down enamel and exposing the underlying dentin layer of your tooth.

Receding gums

A receding gum near the sensitive tooth, caused by conditions such as periodontal disease, can expose the tooth’s dentin and cause sensitivity. Brushing too vigorously or frequently can also cause receding gums.

Acid erosion

Also called “acid wear” or “tooth erosion”, this condition is caused by acidic food or drinks that weaken your tooth’s enamel over time. Today’s modern diet of fruit drinks, soft drinks, wine and even some fruits and vegetables can cause acid wear that exposes the tooth’s dentin layer. 

Brushing Too Hard

Otherwise good dental hygiene habits such as brushing too frequently, too vigorously or with hard-bristled toothbrush can eventually wear down tooth enamel. It can also cause receding gums, causing further exposure of the dentin.  

Gum Disease (Gingivitis)

When gum tissue becomes inflamed and weakened from gingivitis (gum disease), you may feel sensitivity because more of the underlying root surface is exposed, including the dentin.