Teeth sensitive to cold? Home remedies and tips.

Medically Reviewed by a
Licensed DDS

Table of Contents

  1. Causes & Symptoms
  2. Home Treatment
  3. Additional Help
  4. References

Many people naturally have sensitive teeth, especially teeth that are sensitive to cold.

Sipping cold water, eating ice cream or a popsicle, or even opening their mouths outside when the weather is cold can make their teeth or mouth hurt, tingle, or feel uncomfortable. About 45 million Americans are specifically sensitive to cold foods and beverages.

You may develop sensitivity to cold slowly over time, or it can come on very quickly. It may be a sign that you have an underlying oral health problem, like cracks in the enamel of your teeth or an infection causing tooth decay.

Keep track of other symptoms, such as swelling, other types of pain, and sensitivity to hot, sour, or sweet foods and drinks.

You can try some home remedies to ease sensitivity to cold, whether you consistently struggle with this problem or it is a new development.

Causes and symptoms of sensitive teeth.

You may be a person who has naturally thinner enamel on your teeth, which means you have had sensitivity to cold foods and beverages for most of your life.

You could also develop this issue if your enamel gets thinner, exposing microscopic tubes called dentin. This can happen if gum disease like gingivitis exposes layers below the enamel as your gums recede, or it could occur from tooth decay that leads to cavities.

Grinding or clenching your teeth can cause cracks in the enamel as well, which may expose sensitive inner parts to cold.

If it wasn’t a preexisting condition, underlying causes of cold-sensitive teeth include:

  • Cavities or tooth decay.
  • Fractured teeth.
  • Worn or missing fillings.
  • Worn or thin enamel.
  • Exposed roots.
  • Gum disease like gingivitis.

Cold temperatures themselves can cause changes in your teeth, which increase their sensitivity. Your front teeth in particular can change as much as 120 degrees Fahrenheit in temperature, expanding and contracting throughout those changes. Rapid changes can cause discomfort or pain for a few moments as your teeth literally change shape in your mouth.

Continual exposure to intense cold, causing big fluctuations in tooth shape, may also cause small fractures in your teeth, which increase their sensitivity.

Talk to your dentist if you develop cold sensitivity, especially if it is not just discomfort but actual pain.

Home treatment for teeth that are sensitive to cold.

Try A Different Toothpaste

If your teeth are sensitive to cold, try switching your toothpaste. If you consistently use whitening products, this can slowly wear away at the enamel of your teeth. Tartar control toothpastes also contain a chemical that can cause your enamel to thin.

Since these products must be used regularly before you notice any benefits, you may begin to struggle with sensitive teeth before anything else changes. You can also talk to your dentist about whitening or plaque control options that do not put stress on your enamel.

Desensitizing toothpastes contain compounds that help to block the transmission of sensation from the surface of the tooth to its nerve. You may need to use this toothpaste consistently for several days or weeks in order to get consistent results when you consume cold food or drink.

Vary Your Toothbrushing Technique
Get a soft-bristled toothbrush, and do not brush your teeth very hard. Vigorous brushing can break your gums and wear down the tooth’s root surface, exposing various areas to infection. Hard-bristled toothbrushes can also scrape sensitive areas and increase infection risk.
Limit Acidic Drinks

Soda, juice, and coffee can all wear away tooth enamel. Cut down on your intake of these beverages, and consider how many sugary and acidic foods you eat. Balancing your diet improves your health overall, and that includes your dental health.

While dentists recommend brushing your teeth at least twice per day, brushing immediately after a meal or snack that includes acidic foods like oranges, tomato sauce, or candy can increase your risk of enamel loss or erosion. If you know you are going to eat something acidic, brush your teeth beforehand. Then, swish with water after you eat to loosen food particles from your teeth.

Stop Chewing Hard Things
Don’t chew very hard candy, ice, or other hard foods. Doing so can crack your enamel and lead to sensitive teeth.
Re-Mineralize Your Teeth

This is a natural process that you can support. Brush your teeth twice a day. Swish with water after meals. Chew sugar-free gum. Use fluoride treatments as recommended by your dentist.

Good oral hygiene practices keep your teeth healthy, along with regular dental checkups.

When you need additional help.

If your teeth are very sensitive, causing you pain, or the type of sensitivity you have changes and becomes serious, contact your dentist for help. Three to four days of intense sensitivity and pain indicate a toothache rather than just sensitive teeth.

A toothache requires medical treatment to clear out the infection. This may include fluoride treatment, a course of antibiotics, filling a cavity, or even getting a root canal.

Misaligned teeth may contribute to tooth sensitivity too. If you have crooked, crowded, or gapped teeth, the pressure on surrounding teeth can cause small cracks to form. You may also have a hard time brushing those areas, which leads to more plaque buildup, and that can lead to enamel erosion and cavities.

If the alignment of your teeth contributes to oral hygiene struggles, your dentist may recommend getting braces or clear aligners. If you have mild or moderate alignment issues, you may be able to straighten your teeth from home rather than going to an orthodontist. Doctor-monitored, at-home aligners work for many people, and they are often the most affordable and convenient option.

References.

Sensitive Teeth. American Dental Association (ADA).

Why Your Teeth Hurt in Cold Weather. (December 2017). Delta Dental.

Sensitive Teeth: Do Hot and Cold Bother You? (July 2018). Delta Dental.

Common Condition Creates a Diverse List of Treatment Options. (January 2012). American Academy of General Dentistry (AAGD).

The Perils of Sensitive Teeth. (December 2017). University of Utah.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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