Sometimes teeth can feel sore to the touch while brushing or eating, and there are a number of reasons why that might be. In this article, discover the most common reasons why a tooth is sore to the touch or sensitive, as well as tips to manage and prevent the issue.
Why your tooth hurts to touch: causes
There are various reasons why your tooth may hurt to touch, some of the most common of which are listed below. If you are worried about tooth pain and sensitivity, or about your oral health in general, be sure to speak to a dentist.
- An abscessed tooth or a tooth infection: If you have an infected tooth, the gums around the affected tooth and the tooth itself may be sore or sensitive to touch. A tooth infection is often caused by damage to the tooth, tooth decay, or gum disease. A dental abscess occurs when pus forms inside the teeth, gums or in the bone that holds the teeth in place.
If you think you have a tooth infection, you should see a dentist as soon as possible. They do not go away on their own and can make you ill if they spread to other parts of your body.
- Cracked teeth: A cracked tooth can occur from chewing on hard food, teeth grinding, or an injury, among other causes. A cracked tooth may not always be painful, but it can expose the enamel, causing pain and sensitivity.
If you have a chipped, cracked, or broken tooth, you should make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible, who should be able to treat it.
- Enamel erosion: There are many causes for enamel erosion, but each of these can lead to teeth being sensitive or sore to the touch. Your enamel is the hard, protective layer surrounding the dentin, a softer layer containing tubules connected to your nerves. If the dentin is exposed, these nerves can be stimulated by various things, such as hot and cold food. This can cause pain and sensitivity.
- Gum disease or receding gums: Gum disease can cause receding gums and a deterioration of the gums surrounding your teeth. This can cause tooth roots to become exposed, leaving them susceptible to decay, pain, and sensitivity.
My tooth is sensitive to touch or my tooth hurts to touch, what can I do to fix this?
If you are experiencing sudden tooth pain and sensitivity or your tooth is sore to the touch, it is recommended that you see your dentist so that they can assess what is causing the problem and provide a tailored solution. However, there are lots of ways you can encourage a healthy mouth and manage pain.
Relieving and preventing pain and sensitivity:
- Painkillers: As a temporary solution, painkillers may help to relieve pain if your tooth hurts to touch. Ibuprofen would be the best option, as it helps to reduce inflammation, but if you are unable to take it then paracetamol may also help. Always read the instructions before taking medication and be sure to consult a doctor if you are unsure.
- Saltwater rinse: If your tooth is sore to the touch or your tooth is sensitive to touch, try rinsing your mouth with salt water.¹ This is a great at-home option to relieve pain, as it helps to remove harmful bacteria from your mouth and can reduce swelling. Add some salt (between a quarter and a half of a teaspoon) to a glass of warm water and gargle, being careful not to swallow the water. Bear in mind that this is only a temporary pain relief option and not a way to treat dentin hypersensitivity.
- Avoid triggering food and drinks: Fizzy drinks, acidic food and drinks, hot and cold food and drinks, and highly sugary food can all trigger pain and sensitivity in teeth.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush: Hard-bristled brushes can be tough on your teeth and gums, causing receding gums and enamel erosion. Instead, choose a soft-bristled brush and brush in circular motions to ensure that you’re getting an expert clean without damaging your mouth.
- Floss regularly: Flossing once a day helps to remove plaque build-up and food from your teeth and gumline, helping to keep teeth health and lower the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
- Choose the right toothpaste: If your tooth is very sensitive to touch due to dentin hypersensitivity, choose a toothpaste specifically designed to combat this issue. Regenerate ™ NR-5 Hypersensitivity Toothpaste is a specially formulated medical device toothpaste clinically proven to treat hypersensitivity pain. Its patented NR-5+ Intensive care formula deeply rescues the exposed hypersensitive areas by regenerating enamel mineral.
Remember, the information in this article is not designed as a substitute for professional medical advice. If your tooth is painful to touch or you are worried about your dental health in general, it is always a good idea to speak to your dentist.