Tooth sensitivity is the pain you may feel when you eat or drink hot or cold foods or drinks. You may also feel pain when you breathe in cold air.
Sensitivity can happen when gums pull away from the teeth or when gum tissue is lost. Gum loss can occur as a result of brushing too hard or not brushing and flossing regularly.
When gum loss occurs, the part of the tooth below the gumline can be exposed. This is called the tooth root. There are tiny tunnels that contain fluid and lead from the tooth root to the tooth’s nerve centre. This nerve centre is called the pulp. When heat or cold touches these tunnels, the tooth fluid can excite the nerve, causing pain in your teeth.
Sensitivity can also happen if the tooth’s hard surface layer, called enamel, gets worn away.
Tooth sensitivity can come and go, but ignoring it can lead to other health problems in your mouth.