What Makes Teeth Sensitive to Sugar?

Proper dental care is an important part of overall health maintenance. Regular brushing and flossing is an important part of this, and it must be done on a daily basis for best results. Sometimes poor dental hygiene, improper diet or both can lead to dental problems, including tooth sensitivity. When your teeth become sensitive to sugar, they're telling you that something isn't right.


A cavity is one of the most common reasons for sensitivity to sugar in the mouth. According to the Healthy Teeth website, an online publication of the production of the Nova Scotia Dental Association, when bacterium is able to attach to tooth enamel and cause decay, it can mix with the saliva in your mouth 1. Over time, these bacteria can contribute to decay in the teeth, which can cause a hole. This hole is called a cavity. When sugar gets into a cavity it can irritate the nerve and cause a lot of pain, making it difficult to eat, drink or even breathe for several minutes, depending on the severity of the decay and the pain that results.

Sugar in the Mouth

Sugar can be difficult to remove from the mouth. A quick brushing of the teeth or rinsing of the mouth may not be enough to remove harmful sugars from the mouth before they cause decay. According to Healthy Teeth, sugar and bacteria combine in the mouth to form a paste, and plaque uses this paste as a form of energy 1. The faster the plaque multiplies and grows, the more difficult it is to remove from the mouth.

Avoiding Cavities

Cavities are one of the main reasons behind sensitivity to sugar on the teeth 1. Avoiding cavities can help you to avoid dealing with this pain. Regular, proper flossing and brushing removes bacteria and sugar from the mouth and teeth, making them less likely to cause decay, cavities and sensitivity 1.

Visit your dentist every six months for the most comprehensive dental care.

Brushing for Sensitivity

Dental Gentle Care recommends brushing gently if you have sensitive teeth, working carefully around the gums to minimize the loss of tissue or enamel on the teeth. Consider toothpaste designed specifically for tooth sensitivity, as it works to cover the open pores in the tooth enamel that cause hyper-sensitivity in the teeth. The Dental Gentle Care website stresses the importance of avoiding tartar control toothpaste varieties, opting for the fluoride or desensitizing variety instead.

Food and Drink

Avoid direct contact between your teeth and foods that are very hot or cold. If sugar causes pain, hot and cold food and beverages may also cause sensitivity. Avoid acidic foods like citrus fruits and pickles, and beware of drinks that contain a lot of sugar, such as:

  • soda
  • tea
  • coffee
  • juice