‘Cold-sensitive teeth’ are a sign of five possible oral health issues

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It’s common to experience a cold sensation when you drink or eat something cold, or even breathe in cold air. The sharp sensation can come on suddenly and feel deep in your teeth. Often, it can be because of underlying problems with your teeth.

Teeth sensitivity is brought on when the outer layer of your teeth – the enamel – is stripped back.

When this happens, the nerves of the tooth are exposed to hot, cold or sweet food, or cold air, which causes pain.

There are many reasons why this sensitivity may be brought on, including wear and tear and receding gums.

If you notice unusual sensitivity for several days in a row, you should make a trip to your dentist.

Receding gums

The Cleveland Clinic explains: “Some people are genetically prone to thin gum tissue. Other people develop gum recession as a result of periodontal disease.

“With gum recession, your gum tissue pulls away from your teeth, exposing the roots.”

The US toothpaste brand Crest recommends taking a closer look at your gums to see if they are receding.

It stated: “If you notice persistent sensitivity to cold or heat in your teeth, give them a closer look. Check your gum line to see whether your gums are pulling away from your teeth.

Using tooth cleaning products too intensely

Brushing your teeth “too hard” or overusing tooth whitening treatments can lead to tooth sensitivity as well, Crest explains.

The acids from everyday foods could also be a factor at play. Wine, coffee, and tomatoes are a few foods that expose your teeth to acids.

These factors “can cause irreversible loss of your tooth enamel”, according to the brand.

Cracked teeth

Bacteria can build up in any broken teeth or chipped teeth in the form of plaque. Through these cracks, bacteria can enter the pulp of your teeth.

The pulp is an area on the roots of your teeth containing thousands of small tubes that lead to the centre of your teeth where the nerve endings are.

Grinding your teeth

Bruxism – also known as teeth grinding – can wear away your enamel and expose your nerves.

Crest explains: “If you think that you are grinding your teeth, see your dental professional and ask about options for how to protect your teeth.”

Gum disease

More severe problems like gum disease could also cause sensitivity to cold.

Cleveland Clinic states: “Inflamed and sore gum tissue may cause sensitivity because of the loss of supporting ligaments, which exposes the root surface that leads directly to the nerve of the tooth.”

As well as experiencing coldness, tooth sensitivity may also show up as pain when biting down or chewing. The pain may be on only one tooth.

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