Fact Checked

Why Are My Teeth Sensitive to Sugar?

Written by Fernanda Elizalde

September 26, 2022

Medically Reviewed

By Dr. Greg Grillo, DDS

Eating or drinking sweets means double trouble for your teeth. Sugary foods and drinks can cause tooth decay and sensitivity.

Sweet foods and drinks can also produce pain and discomfort in sensitive teeth.

More damage to your teeth and gums may develop if you consume sugar often and do not exercise continuous dental care. This can make teeth sensitive to sugar and heighten tooth sensitivity to sensations like hot or cold substances.

Even worse, sugary foods can lead to other problems such as gingivitis and periodontal disease, sore gum tissue, receding gums, severely eroded tooth enamel, and poor oral health.

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Why are my teeth becoming sensitive?

A variety of factors might contribute to sensitive teeth. A complete dental examination is the only way to be sure. This allows the dentist to pinpoint the source of your problems and devise a treatment plan.

Enamel loss, cavities, tooth damage, and teeth whitening procedures are four of the most prevalent reasons for tooth pain when you eat sweet foods.

Tooth impairment

If your teeth become suddenly sensitive to sweets, it might be due to acute trauma or damage to your teeth. A crack or fracture, for example, might expose the nerves and aggravate tooth discomfort. This sensitivity differs in that it is limited to the wounded region.


Even minor cavities can cause tooth sensitivity. Plaque consists of harmful bacteria colonies that damage teeth and feed on dietary carbohydrates. This process generates acid that eats away at the tooth enamel. When left untreated, these cavities can grow in size and become sites of infection, resulting in discomfort and abscess.

Loss of enamel

The enamel is the teeth's exterior protective coating. Loss of enamel or cementum, the covering that protects the roots, can expose the interior nerves and pulp of the teeth. This can increase sensitivity to sweet items and extremely hot or cold meals. Weakening enamel exposes your teeth to dental decay and fracture, leading to tooth loss.

Brushing too firmly

Brushing too hard or using firm bristles on your toothbrush might wear away at your enamel. Choose a toothbrush that has soft bristles. Brush your teeth softly with a circular motion, not hard or straight back and forth across your teeth, whether you use a manual or electric toothbrush.

Consuming acidic foods

Your diet might also have an impact on your enamel. Pickles, cranberries, tomato-containing foods, coffee, and alcohol can all cause tooth decay. They can erode the enamel, putting your teeth at risk of decay. These foods might also cause tooth discoloration.

Tooth whitening treatments

The product might be to blame if you feel sensitivity after a whitening treatment. Some people experience tooth sensitivity following at-home or professional teeth whitening. However, the discomfort is generally brief. Contact your dentist if it lasts longer than 1-2 days.


Plaque accumulation can also contribute to gum disease. Tartar forms when a sticky film called plaque becomes hard on teeth. Tartar and plaque can irritate gums, resulting in:

  • Inflammation
  •  Infection 
  • Swelling 
  • Bleeding

    Because exposed tooth roots include nerve endings, inflamed, painful gum tissue can enhance tooth sensitivity.

    Gum recession

    Your gums are meant to protect cover bone and protect the root. As you get older, your gums may begin to recede, which exposes the roots of your teeth.

    Cigarette smoking and vigorous teeth cleaning may aggravate receding gums.

    Poor dental health and gum disease are also essential factors.

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    How can I prevent sugar-causing tooth sensitivity?

    Sugar sensitivity may be avoided by maintaining proper dental health. This will also help to avoid enamel erosion and tooth decay.

    Be mindful of what you eat

    The first step is to keep track of what you consume. You may be more prone to poor dental health if you consume many unhealthy foods. Vitamin shortage can lead to tooth decay by weakening the teeth. Thus, eating a healthy, balanced diet is essential. Vegetables, fiber-rich meals, yogurt, cheese, and milk are among foods that can help reduce enamel loss (and hence sugar sensitivity).

    Avoiding sweets

    Sweets can induce pain in teeth that have been injured or have become sensitive.

    Among the worst foods are:

    • Cough drops and hard candies: Sucking sweets remain in the mouth for an extended period, creating an acid pool for the teeth.
    • Gummy or sticky sweets: Such as Gummy bears, honey, frosting, and dried fruit all adhere to teeth, allowing germs to flourish.

    • Orange juice: Although it may not appear to be the greatest culprit, orange juice is heavy in sugar and natural citric acid, which can erode teeth further.
    • Carbonated drinks: Sodas and other sugary beverages are acidic as well as high in sugar. Even diet soda is extremely acidic.

      Monitor your sugar consumption

      If you have tooth pain after eating sugar, another alternative is to limit your sugar intake. Not only will you avoid what causes tooth decay, but consuming less sugar benefits your teeth and can help prevent cavities.

      Avoid consuming acidic foods

      Acidic foods can erode at your tooth enamel. Avoiding these foods can help your enamel last longer, lowering your risk of cavities.

      Brushing habits should be changed

      Brushing your teeth too forcefully may cause tooth damage. You may need to adjust your brushing technique to be softer, but changing your toothbrush may help.

      What kind of toothpaste should I use?

      If your teeth are more sensitive in general, there is sensitive tooth toothpaste that specializes in helping. These should be sold everywhere toothpaste is sold. You may also consult your dentist to see what he or she suggests.

      What kind of toothbrush should I use?

      The most significant feature of a toothbrush should be soft bristles. Hard bristles can erode your enamel. Soft bristles will clean just as well as stiff bristles while protecting your enamel.

      What sugar-sensitive teeth treatments are available?

      You have several alternatives depending on the source of your discomfort. Oral examinations are used by dentists to determine the diagnosis. Dental radiographs may be required to determine the source of the discomfort.

      The dentist may recommend a fluoride treatment to repair the teeth when the problem is weakening enamel. Although enamel cannot regenerate, remineralization forces phosphorus and calcium back into the teeth. This reaction strengthens the teeth's resistance to plaque.

      Dental bonding may be advised for more extensive enamel loss. A dental composite resin is used in dental bonding and attaches to teeth when a dental light is shone on them. This "bonding" strengthens the teeth and provides better protection.

      If you suffer severe tooth damage or have an infection, your dentist may refer you to an endodontist. The dentist may install a crown on a chipped tooth to protect it from additional stress or bacterial infection.

      Depending on how far the illness has gone, a cavity may necessitate a multi-pronged strategy for therapy. In some circumstances, Fluoride therapy can reverse the deterioration in its early stages.

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      Tooth pain prevention

      These methods can help you maintain your teeth healthy and avoid tooth discomfort when you eat sugar:

      • To prevent cavities, avoid sweets.
      • Consider stopping if you vape, smoke, or chew nicotine products.
      • Brush your teeth at least twice daily using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
      • Floss as frequently as you can.
      • Avoid using mouthwash that contains alcohol.
      • Brush your teeth after each meal if you eat sweets or other high-carbohydrate items, such as potato chips.
      • Sugar-free gum may be an option if you cannot wash your teeth after meals. Sugar-free gum is another fantastic alternative to sucking candy.
      • If feasible, schedule a cleaning with a dentist twice a year. A dentist can also tell you if you have little cavities you aren't aware of.


        Eating or drinking something sweet may hurt your teeth if they are damaged or sensitive. Dental disorders such as enamel loss and cavities can cause increased tooth sensitivity.

        Taking care of your teeth can help maintain them healthy and make them less susceptible to stimuli like sweet meals. Eating or drinking hot or cold items may cause pain if you have sensitive teeth.