Are Your Teeth Sensitive To Sugar? This Could Be Why

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Medically reviewed by Othman Lahmaydi, RDH

While eating sweets is an enjoyable experience for most people, there are some who experience some not-so-pleasant side effects. If your teeth are sensitive to sugar, it can be quite frustrating, especially if you do not know why this is the case.

Your teeth may be sensitive to sugar for various reasons, including certain whitening treatments, cavities, and gingivitis. You can prevent sensitivity by limiting your intake of sweets, brushing your teeth properly, and using alcohol-free mouthwash. Visit a dentist for proper consultation.

Understanding why your teeth are sensitive to sugar can be an overwhelming process. Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons why your teeth may be affected and what you can do to improve the situation.

Why Do Sweets Hurt My Teeth?

Young woman with sensitive teeth eating sweet lollipop on color background

As you explore the reasons why sweets may be hurting your teeth, it’s important to keep in mind that some conditions are mild and others are more intense. The solutions will vary depending on the cause, so let’s take a look and see which one might be the culprit in your case.

Tooth-Whitening Treatments

In many cases, the ingredients in tooth-whitening treatments include either bleach or hydrogen peroxide. These chemicals can seep through tooth enamel and cause pain that is often exacerbated by sweets.


This typically occurs when plaque builds up on teeth and then changes into tartar. The gums can become irritated as a result. When the gums are irritated, they tend to be more sensitive to food items such as sweets.


These typically occur as a result of the tooth decay caused by an excessive amount of plaque buildup on teeth and under the gums. When you eat sweets, the sugar can make its way into the crevices and cause severe pain.

Loss of Enamel

Tooth enamel, or dentin, can be lost over time through constant exposure to sugary foods or drinks. When you don’t brush your teeth regularly, the acids tend to stay on your teeth and can cause sensitivity to foods such as sweets.

Receding Gums

Receding gums tend to develop slowly as you get older, and they can cause your tooth roots to become exposed. This is especially true if you don’t adhere to good oral hygiene.

Various gum diseases can cause tooth sensitivity.

How to Determine if You Have a Cavity

One of the first signs that you may have a cavity is when you eat something such as sweets and you have sudden and intense pain in your mouth. This can happen over and over when you continue eating the same types of food.

Cavities are caused by tooth decay that exists because of acid build-up from various foods. The result is a hole that is etched through the tooth enamel. The hole becomes sensitive to anything you choose to eat, especially sweets.

If you suspect that you have a cavity, you should make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. They can better assess the tooth and then make a plan to fill it correctly so that your sensitivity goes away.

The Best Remedies for Sensitive Teeth

If you suffer from severe tooth sensitivity to sweets, there are several things you can do to fix the issue. While many of these remedies can be done at home, others may require the help of your dentist.

Using a special toothpaste for sensitive teeth — like this one from Sensodyne (on Amazon) — can help by adding a coat around the tooth enamel that will then protect the teeth. This can help to keep your teeth from being sensitive to the foods you eat.

In addition, another remedy you can do at home until you see your dentist is to take over-the-counter pain relief medications. While this will only provide temporary relief, it’ll at least help you cope with the pain until you can get professional care.

Once you can see your dentist, they will examine your teeth for any signs of gingivitis, gum disease, or another tooth condition. It’s important to follow your dentist’s suggestions, which may include bonding, fillings, or another treatment designed to help with tooth sensitivity.

How to Prevent Tooth Sensitivity

Dentist showing the correct dental hygiene on white background

Whether you currently have tooth sensitivity or are interested in preventing it from happening, there are several things you can do. Some of these prevention methods are simple everyday actions to take and others may require the help of dental professionals.

Here are some things you can do to prevent tooth sensitivity:

  • Limit your consumption of sugary foods
  • Use your dentist’s recommended toothbrushing techniques
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush (on Amazon)
  • Consider avoiding nicotine products such as cigarettes and vapes
  • Avoid acidic foods as much as possible
  • Only use alcohol-free mouthwash (on Amazon)
  • Ensure that you’re brushing your teeth after every meal
  • Make and keep regular appointments with your dentist to help detect any issues that come up right away

While this list is not exhaustive, the steps can go a long way to helping you prevent the tooth sensitivity that can happen when you eat sugary foods. Keep in mind that there’s nothing that is 100% effective in preventing tooth sensitivity.

Final Thoughts

The bottom line when it comes to tooth sensitivity to sugary foods is that with proper oral hygiene, it can be prevented. It is important to keep in mind that if you have tooth sensitivity when you eat certain foods, you should see your dentist as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

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