Why Are Your Teeth Sensitive To Sugar: Common Causes & Fixes

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases made on our website.
Medically reviewed by Othman Lahmaydi, RDH

Sugar is a delicious treat that we all succumb to at some point, but what does it mean when that sugar then hurts your teeth? Unfortunately, sugar is terrible for our mouth as it reacts to certain bacteria that our mouth harbors. Without proper care, this can lead to extra sensitivity and pain.

Enamel erosion, tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, or the use of tooth-whitening products can cause tooth sensitivity to sugar. If your teeth are sensitive, you can try to increase your oral hygiene and visit the dentist. Fluoride treatment and the avoidance of acidic foods can also help. 

Good oral hygiene is vital to maintaining a healthy mouth. Even more so when you start to feel some extra sensitivity due to sugar, cold temperatures, or even just biting down, it’s always essential to visit the dentist if you start feeling new pain in your mouth, but sometimes making small changes in our daily routines can correct the issue before extensive treatment is necessary.

What Does it Mean When Your Teeth are Sensitive to Sweets? 

Asian woman sensitive to sugar have a toothache after eating sweets

Teeth sensitivity to sweets is a common issue that people can have, but that doesn’t mean it’s normal. If your teeth are hurting after consuming sugar, it indicates something is wrong. 

According to the Indiana Dental Association, bacteria in the mouth react and produce acid when it comes in contact with sugar in food and drinks. This reaction can cause a whole host of issues within your mouth that could cause your sensitivity. 

Enamel or Dentin Loss

Clenching or grinding your teeth is one of the main reasons your teeth may be sensitive. The enamel is slowly worn away when you clench or grind your teeth. Losing this enamel strips away the protective layer of your teeth, making them extra sensitive to stimuli.  

Tooth Decay and Cavities

Bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and create a sticky film that is called plaque. Eventually, if not brushed or cleaned away, this plaque turns into a hardened surface called tartar that a dentist can only remove. 

Plaque and tartar can be found on and around the teeth and near the gum line. It generates an acid that demineralizes the tooth enamel and wears it down. This allows harmful bacteria to enter the soft and vulnerable dentin inside the tooth and eat away at the tooth interior. This is how cavities develop. 

Cavities start as small holes inside your tooth enamel and slowly get bigger if they aren’t treated. Leaving cavities to fester makes the tooth sensitive to sugary foods, cold temperatures, jostling, and biting down. 

Gingivitis and Gum Disease

Eventually, plaque and tartar buildup can lead to gum disease and gingivitis. This can be seen with inflamed gums, infection, swelling, and bleeding in your mouth. These symptoms lead to sore gums and teeth that increase tooth sensitivity due to exposed roots and nerve endings.

Receding Gums

The purpose of having gums is to cover the bone and protect the roots of your teeth. When your gums begin to recede from aggressive brushing, gum disease, age, smoking, or poor oral health, this increases the sensitivity to outside stimulation.

Usage of Tooth-Whitening Treatments

Tooth whitening products can contain harsh stain-removing chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide. To whiten the teeth, those chemicals need to reach the interior of the tooth, called dentin. This method of teeth whitening can leave them highly sensitive. 

How Do You Fix Sensitive Teeth to Sweets? 

Fortunately, there are many ways that you can decrease your tooth sensitivity to sugars and other factors at home. However, sometimes there is the need to visit the dentist and undergo more intensive treatments, especially if the pain is horrible.

So, if you are starting to feel extra sensitive to sugars, then it is best to try a few treatments at home before it gets worse.

  • Good oral hygiene is vital to battling tooth sensitivity. You want a soft-bristled brush and use light strokes moving away from the gum line and in circular motions at the sides.
  • Use a sensitive toothpaste designed to decrease sensitivity and rebuild damaged enamel. Give it several tries before giving up, as it takes a while to begin working.
  • Visit the dentist for regular checkups and cleanings as they can also notice if something else is going on, like a cavity developing or gingivitis.  

How Do You Rebuild Enamel?

Family brushing teeth together in bathroom

If your enamel has been damaged, it doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. The good thing about enamel is it grows back given time and with proper care. Thankfully, you can try a few things to speed up the process and jump-start it if the damage is severe.

  • Having good oral hygiene is vital if you see that your enamel has been damaged. Brush twice a day with a soft bristle brush, floss frequently, and use mouthwash at least once daily to remove that enamel-eating bacteria.
  • Avoid harmful foods that contain acidity, sugars, or tobacco since the bacteria that feed off those foods wear the enamel away faster than other choices.

Leave a Comment