Why Are My Teeth Sensitive To Cold Food & Water?

If you have recently noticed a sharp, sensitive pain in one or more of your teeth when you take a sip of cold water or a bite of a frozen treat, there could be several oral health problems causing this sensation. Some potential causes of teeth being sensitive to cold can include cavities, teeth grinding, gum disease, over-brushing, use of whitening products, and more. In this article, we’ll break down each of these potential causes so we can help you figure out what is making your teeth sensitive to cold! If you’re concerned about teeth sensitivity or other oral health problems and are a resident of the Southern Maine region, Gentle Dental Maine is here for you! Contact us today at one of our offices in Biddeford, Topsham, or South Portland!


One of the most common causes of a tooth that is sensitive to cold food & water is a cavity. A cavity is a small hole in a tooth’s enamel that is caused by decay. Cavities can not repair themselves, so in order to fix them, they require a visit to your dentist for a dental filling. While cavity symptoms often start out as a sensitivity to cold food & drink, they can quickly develop into full-blown toothaches and infections if the tooth is not repaired.

Teeth Grinding

Another common cause of tooth sensitivity is teeth grinding. Many people unconsciously grind or clench their teeth during the day and while they are sleeping, slowly wearing down the enamel of their teeth. Over time, teeth grinding can cause small cracks or breaks in the teeth that can make you sensitive to cold food & drinks. If you believe that you are subconsciously grinding your teeth during the day or while you sleep, you should speak to your dentist about some potential treatments for teeth grinding like stress relief, practicing good sleep habits, or wearing a mouthguard to bed.

Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as gingivitis, can make your teeth sensitive to cold food & drinks. Gum disease is caused by poor oral health practices & the build up of plaque on your teeth. When someone has gum disease, their gums begin to slowly recede and expose parts of the teeth that can be sensitive to cold water and food. If you have noticed gum inflammation or recession, you should consult your dentist right away to speak to them about gingivitis!


Another cause of sensitive teeth can be if you are brushing your teeth too hard. Over-brushing your teeth can result in weakened enamel and exposure of a tooth’s dentin layer, a part of the tooth that is connected to nerve endings. Be sure that when you brush, you are brushing in small, circular motions and you are not putting excessive pressure on your teeth. If you believe that over-brushing may be causing teeth sensitivity, you should speak to your dentist!

Whitening Products

One more potential cause of teeth sensitivity is the use of at-home teeth whitening products. DIY whitening products usually contain powerful bleaching chemicals that can wear down your enamel if they are not being used properly. This can result in a similar situation as over-brushing your teeth, where the parts of your teeth that are connected to nerve endings are exposed. If you desire whiter teeth, professional teeth whitening services are far safer and more effective than at-home products!

Contact Gentle Dental Maine!

If you have any questions about teeth sensitivity or other oral health problems, contact our team at Gentle Dental Maine! Our family dentists specialize in general, cosmetic, restorative, and emergency dentistry services at each of our offices in South Portland, Biddeford, and Topsham. Give us a call at any one of our offices, or if you’re not yet a patient with us, please fill out the new patient form on our website!