What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

If you feel like your teeth are more sensitive than most people’s, you’re not alone. In fact, the American Dental Association confirms that at least 40 million Americans have sensitive teeth. But what causes sensitive teeth? We’ll be talking about just that in this blog post!

What Are Sensitive Teeth?

The condition of sensitive teeth, or dentin hypersensitivity as it’s also known, can disrupt many aspects of your life. Perhaps you’re walking around downtown with friends and a cool gust of wind triggers an inconvenient toothache. Or a dinner out can turn into an awkward experience when biting into your food causes a jolt of pain.

Whether triggered by temperature, food, or other factors, sensitive teeth can take their toll on your social life and other situations. Explore some of common causes of sensitive teeth below, and make an appointment with West Lakes Dentistry to discuss tooth sensitivity treatment options.

Sensitive Teeth Illustration from general dentistry mound mn

Photo by Mike Pham

Understanding Dentin Hypersensitivity

The main cause of sensitive teeth is a lack of protection for the inner nerve endings of your tooth. Within every one of your teeth are living parts including pulp, dentin, and nerves. What keeps them from hurting or causing discomfort normally is the protective outer shell of your teeth, the enamel. The various causes of dentin hypersensitivity are related to the wearing down of this protective layer and the greater exposure of the nerve endings.

Thin Enamel

Enamel that is thinner than usual can occur due to a variety of factors. Using a hard bristled toothbrush can be enough to scrape valuable enamel from your teeth, increasing sensitivity.

Dental Erosion

Those who follow a high-sugar diet or a diet high in acidic foods may lose their enamel due to dental erosion. Even seemingly harmless products like diet soda are highly acidic and can erode your teeth.

Gum Recession

Gum recession means that your gums have pulled away from the base of your teeth, weakening them significantly. Many things can cause gum recession, including tobacco use and vaping, and receded gums make you more susceptible to dentin hypersensitivity and gingivitis.


If you grind your teeth regularly, you may be suffering from the effects of bruxism. Patients who grind their teeth at night are likely to have more sensitive teeth due to their worn down enamel.

Treating Sensitive Teeth at Home

Sensitive teeth can be treated with products that cater specifically to the condition. One common example is toothpaste that is specially designed for those with dentin hypersensitivity. If sensitive teeth products don’t help, visit our dental team in Mound and Chaska, MN for a fluoride gel that can strengthen your teeth and reduce sensitivity.

Make A Dentist Appointment

At West Lakes Dentistry, we take pride in improving comfort for our patients, and we understand that sensitive teeth can really disrupt your life. If you’ve tried the sensitive toothpaste and other solutions and they simply aren’t providing the relief you need, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with our dental teams in either our Chaska or Mound, MN locations. We can help you come up with a treatment plan that is catered to your unique condition and will get you the treatment you need.