If eating ice cream and drinking cold drinks make your teeth hurt, you are probably suffering from cold sensitive teeth. Cold sensitive teeth are not uncommon, but it’s important to understand the difference between cold sensitive teeth and tooth decay or gum disease. Cold sensitive teeth occur when the nerves within the tooth are exposed due to receding gums or worn tooth enamel. If you have cold sensitive teeth, check with your dentist for suggestions about how to help keep your teeth healthy. (1), (2)
Cold Sensitive Teeth Culprits
Causes of cold sensitive teeth fall into several categories:
- Decay/Disease: If your cold sensitive teeth also hurt when you aren’t eating or drinking something cold, you could be in the early stages of tooth decay or gum disease. Plaque buildup on the teeth and gums can contribute to cold sensitive teeth by eventually leading to tooth decay and gum disease.
- Overzealous Product Use: External factors that could cause cold sensitive teeth include brushing your teeth too hard, overusing tooth whitening treatments, or acids from everyday food and drinks, like wine, coffee, and tomatoes, that can cause irreversible loss of your tooth enamel. Stress: Cold sensitive teeth also can develop if excessive tooth grinding (bruxism) wears away the tooth enamel and exposes nerves. If you think that you are grinding your teeth, see your dental professional and ask about options for how to protect your teeth.