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Why Does My Teeth Hurt When I Drink Cold Water?

Oct 4, 2023Oral health

Why does my teeth hurt when I drink cold water?

Dental care is essential when sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures is present. Discomfort and pain often arise when consuming hot or cold foods or beverages. In instances where individuals experience tooth sensitivity, it may only be temporary. However, if this persists for a duration longer than three to four days, seeking the assistance of a dentist for a diagnostic evaluation is essential in determining both the cause and extent of the matter.

In the upcoming section, we shall discuss some frequently occurring reasons for tooth sensitivity. Familiarizing yourself with these reasons would enable you to avoid exacerbating the discomfort and harm caused to your teeth. It is important to note that if you are already suffering from a damaged tooth, seeking proper medical attention becomes imperative to regain oral health.


Common Causes of Tooth Sensitivity to Cold

It is a common curiosity among individuals regarding the reasons behind having teeth sensitive to cold. There are several factors that contribute to this condition as they can be categorized into different groups.

  • Tooth Decay or Gum Disease: In the event that your teeth react to cold temperature and cause discomfort even without consumption of cold substances, it is plausible that you are experiencing initial symptoms of gum disease or tooth decay. Accumulation of plaque on teeth and gums may serve as a contributing factor to sensitive teeth, eventually leading to tooth decay and gum disease. As 80% of sensitivity begins at the gum line, it is advisable to shift to a gum-friendly toothpaste in order to address sensitivity at its root cause.


  • Overzealous Product Use: The possibility of experiencing cold sensitivity in your teeth could be attributed to external factors such as the usage of tooth whitening treatments, brushing with excessive force, and consuming foods and beverages that contain acidic properties like coffee, wine, and tomatoes. These elements can lead to a permanent erosion of your tooth enamel.


  • Grinding Teeth and Stress: Excessive tooth grinding, commonly known as bruxism, can lead to the development of cold-sensitive teeth by wearing away the tooth enamel and exposing nerves. If you suspect that you grind your teeth, it is advisable to consult a dental professional who can suggest effective ways to safeguard your teeth.


  • Exposed Nerve Roots: The sensitivity of teeth to cold is rooted in the pulp of the tooth as a biological cause. It is the nerves within the pulp that trigger this response, particularly when tooth roots are exposed due to receding gums or gum disease. Dentinal tubules, also known as pathways, contain fluid that can elicit a painful response when subjected to certain stimuli such as cold air or liquid. The movement of the fluid inside the tubules activates the nerve endings in the tooth, causing a sensation of pain.


  • Cracks in Teeth: As teeth are subjected to varying temperatures, they expand and contract, eventually causing minuscule cracks to form. These cracks create a new opening for nerves, consequently rendering teeth sensitive to cold. To prevent this occurrence, it is essential to examine teeth thoroughly for lines that can be indicative of microscopic cracks.


  • Receding Gums: It is imperative to pay closer attention to your teeth when you experience repeated sensitivity towards cold or heat. Monitor your gum line and assess whether they are receding from your teeth. The recession of gums from teeth can cause nerve exposure, thus increasing the likelihood of experiencing heightened sensations of heat and cold.


It is a common occurrence for individuals to experience sensitivity in their teeth when exposed to cold temperatures. Research indicates that there are approximately 45 million adults residing in the United States who report this condition of teeth sensitivity, triggered by cold, heat, or other external factors. Exposure to cold air triggers tooth sensitivity in certain individuals.


There are numerous factors that can contribute to discomfort arising from cold drinks. Certain individuals report sensitivity due to dental decay or caries. This problem arises when the enamel on teeth is gradually worn away by the acids in drinks and food. Dentin hypersensitivity is a prevalent factor that causes discomfort to individuals. The condition arises when the root of the tooth exposes tiny tubules due to gum recession. Subsequently, this can result in acute and piercing pain caused by cold air or drinks. Those individuals who have sensitive gums are susceptible to experiencing pain while consuming cold water as their fragile gum tissues can be inflamed by even minimal temperature changes. Some individuals might encounter tooth sensitivity or an alternative problem, resulting in unpleasant teeth pain upon drinking cold water.

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