Tooth sensitivity is tooth discomfort in one or more teeth that is triggered by hot, cold, sweet, or sour foods and drinks, or even by breathing cold air. The pain can be sharp, sudden, and shoot deep into the nerve endings of your teeth.
Sensitive teeth occur when the underlying layer of your teeth — the dentin — becomes exposed as a result of receding gum tissue (the protective blanket that covers the tooth roots). The roots, which are not covered by hard enamel, contain thousands of tiny tubules leading to the tooth’s nerve center (the pulp). These dentinal tubules (or channels) allow the stimuli — for example, the hot, cold, or sweet food — to reach the nerve in your tooth, which results in the pain you feel.
Brushing too hard: Over time, brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can wear down enamel and cause the dentin to be exposed. It can also cause recession of the gums (the gum tissue pulls away from the teeth).
Use of whitening products: Continue to follow proper brushing and flossing techniques to thoroughly clean all parts of your teeth and mouth.
Use a soft bristled toothbrush: This will result in less toothbrush abrasion to the tooth surface and less irritation to your gums. Brush gently and carefully around the gum line so you do not remove more gum tissue.
Use desensitizing toothpaste: There are several brands of toothpaste available for sensitive teeth. With regular use you should notice a decrease in sensitivity. You may need to try several different brands to find the product that works best for you.