Tooth sensitivity occurs when the protective enamel on the tooth is damaged or when receding gums or periodontal disease exposes the underlying dentin at the roots. If your teeth are sensitive it is important to talk to your dentist to rule out anything serious and address the source of the problem.

Causes can include:

Always tell your dentist if your teeth are sensitive to hot, cold or sweet and call your dentist at once if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Your teeth are also sensitive to pressure.
  • Your tooth sensitivity doesn’t decrease after using desensitizing toothpaste for a few weeks.
  • The pain from tooth sensitivity lasts longer than one hour.
  • The gums around your sensitive teeth appear to be changing colour.


Try our seven tips to prevent tooth sensitivity.

  • Woman Brushing Teeth with Electric Toothbrush

    Keep your teeth clean

    Plaque forms bacteria that irritates your gums and may make them recede, exposing the dentin at the roots. Small fluid-filled tubules inside the dentin connect to the nerve of the tooth which is very sensitive and can cause discomfort if exposed to hot, cold, acidic foods or decay.

    Learn More
    Video: Why do I need to floss?
    Tips for Better Brushing
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush

    Try a different toothpaste

    Using a desensitizing toothpaste and fluoridated dental products may help to reduce sensitivity. It may take several weeks of use before you start to notice the effects.

    Learn More
    Tips for Better Brushing
    Flossing Tips
  • Woman brushing teeth

    Choose your toothbrush wisely

    Use a soft toothbrush that won't scratch tooth enamel or wear away gum tissue and brush gently using a circular motion.

    Learn More
    Tips for Better Brushing
    Flossing Tips
  • Rinsing toothbrush under tap

    Brush with warm water

    Warm water softens the bristles of your toothbrush, making it gentler to brush.

    Learn More
    Tips for Better Brushing
    Flossing Tips
  • Girl breaking cigarette

    Avoid Tobacco

    In addition to its carcinogenic effects, smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco may cause gums to recede.

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    Oral Cancer
  • Father and son cooking

    Watch what you eat

    Reduce your intake of acidic foods and sugary snacks and drinks.

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    Healthy Food Choices
  • Female patient talking to dentist

    Talk to Your Dentist

    If your teeth are sensitive, your dentist needs to know, because the causes can include tooth decay or damage; gum disease and recession; or tooth grinding.

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    Find a Dentist
    Choosing a Dentist