Why Do My Teeth Hurt When I Drink Cold Water

Why does it hurt when you drink cold water

Teeth are such utilitarian tools for our rugged daily activities that you can’t ignore them for a moment. You can gnaw and gnash at anything with these built-in devices. But they’re not painless as the knives or forks. Certain stimuli like texture or temperature can hurt them as well. Does this happen to you? Is your tooth sensitive to cold water? You might wonder why do my teeth hurt when I drink cold water?

Well, I can give you some physiological & pathological explanations about why cold water hurts tooth. But let’s see how you can interpret the cold water-tooth pain relationship in some other ways. The pain is just the warning signal, and it’s kind of a protective measure for your body. When you learn about the deteriorating conditions of your beautiful teeth, you might get enough time to prevent further worsening and eventually fix the teeth. So it turns out that toothache can be helpful despite the discomfort it exerts on you.

So if your tooth hurts when drinking cold water, take it as a warning sign. Consult with a dentist and find out what causes the teeth sensitivity to cold water. To relieve the irritating pain in the teeth, you should undergo the convalescent stage soon as possible. We’ll put into discussion some of the reasons why your tooth hurts when you drink something cold. Some store products might help you relieve the tooth sensitivity to cold water when some problems might need the urgent consultation of a dentist.

However, a wise and systematic dietary habit can help you cope with dental hypersensitivity. Without further ado, let me quench your thirst for the very question of yours, How and why do my teeth hurt when I drink cold water.

How Cold Water Hurts Tooth

Teeth are important and practical parts of our life which also beautifies the smile. So teeth need protection, and hence three vital mineral-coated layers provide the protection. The outermost layer is known as enamel which doesn’t feel anything due to the absence of nerves. The innermost layer is the pulp which is the sensitive portion of the teeth.

Pulp is highly vascularized and sensitive due to intermingling nerve fibers. The nerves don’t sense any ups or downs in the temperature. Instead, they carry only the pain sensation. If the temperature or other stimuli can pass through all the way to the pulp, you’ll sense only pain.

In other parts of your body, your nerves perceive the heat or cold sensation. But in teeth, cold water hurts your teeth. It’s hard to learn that the nerves carry the pain instead of bringing the temperature sensation. But it’s for the overall good of your dental health, don’t even bother to question that!

So how does the temperature get to the pulp layer? Why do your teeth hurt when you drink something cold or hot? Well, the intermediate layer between enamel and pulp is highly porous dentin. If your enamel somehow wears off, the heat or cold will pass through the porous dentin to the highly sensitive pulp part of your teeth. Dentin contains nerve endings as well as fluids that help trespass the coldness of the water.

The pores in the dentin are called tubules that are easily irritated when dentin is exposed to the environment. If you can prevent the wearing and tearing of the enamel, you might avoid dentin exposure to various stimuli. However, some gum diseases might also cause teeth pain without involving the nerves in the pulp. Gum recession is another cause which I’ll discuss later.

So now you know how cold water hurts your teeth. Let’s discuss the buzzing question of your mind why do my teeth hurt when I drink cold water?

Why Do My Teeth Hurt When I Drink Cold Water

There are several factors behind such tooth sensitivity to cold water. You can avoid them or modify the way of treating these factors. You may need to consult a dentist as soon as possible for some advanced tooth diseases.

The severity of your tooth pain can be determined by evaluating the time-length you feel the tingling sensation or the pain. If the pain lasts for 15 seconds or less, the problem is not so severe. Maintaining dental hygiene and some easy measures will do the tricks. If it’s the first time you’re feeling tooth pain after drinking cold water, it’s better to consult a dentist. Pain sensation for 30 seconds or more needs immediate care of a dentist.

A recent study shows that 12.3% of American adult suffers from dentin hypersensitivity. The rate is higher in 18-44 years old, particularly women. Dentin hypersensitivity is one of the reasons you feel discomfort when drinking cold water.

You might have developed some of the factors I’ve mentioned below in this section. If that’s the case, you need immediate consultation with a dentist. Here’s the full-scale answer to your very question, why do my teeth hurt when I drink cold water?

Acidic or sugary foods & drinks

Foods and drinks high in sugar are the most common causes behind enamel erosion in most people. Sugary and starchy foods, such as candy, syrups, ice cream, white slices of bread, caramel erode the outermost layer of the teeth. Bacteria feast on sugary and starchy foods and produce acid, which has harsh effects on the teeth.

Acidic foods like citrus fruits, pink fruits, pineapples, lemons, kiwis, rhubarb, grapefruits, oranges, blueberries, juices can expose the dentin layer by destroying the covering enamel if you snack such foods frequently. Soda is another popular drink you sip very often. But the sugary soda contains a high concentration of citric acid and phosphoric acid. Some of these acids are more searing than the battery acids.

If you give time to the bacteria to feast on the sweet foods, you’ll get the enamel damaged eventually. You’re lucky that acidic assault wears down the enamel slowly. If you don’t want the nerve endings in the dentin exposed, you better brush your teeth whenever you dribble for the sugary foods. Of course, in a fixed manner like twice a day. Sipping sugary drinks now and then will damage the outermost layer of teeth.

Also, drink more and more water. The acidic assault on the enamel forms cavities that reach to dentin layer. So enamel becomes sensitive to heat and cold. That’s why the cold water hurts teeth whenever you drink it.

Persistent foods & drinks

Whenever you snack on different foods, glands release saliva, which partially digests and wash the bolus of food away into the esophagus. But some of the foods seem naughty enough to cling to your teeth. They stick to the wavy surface and gum line of the teeth and between the teeth. Even drinking water doesn’t efficiently eliminate the food particles. Maybe they have the brain to hide from the inundation of saliva (pun intended).

Avoid such sticky foods to prevent tooth decay. But which foods cause such damage most? Cookies or biscuits are the stickiest alongside hard candy, dry cereal, dried fruit, ice cream, honey, mints, milk, etc. They stay longer in the mouth and cause more decay than the other foods. Rinse your mouth with lots of water after eating these foods. Otherwise, bacteria will eat out you teeth using these foods.

Plaque attacks

If you don’t maintain oral hygiene properly, bacteria will start foraging the food particles and form plaques spiraling the tooth. If you don’t brush ideally, plaques are likely to stay and form a harder coating known as calculus. Tartar or calculus is hard to remove and acts as a perfect biome for bacteria.

The hard plaque gradually removes the minerals in the enamel layer and creates lots of pores or cavities. Acids find the scope to trespass the damaged layer and reach the dentin. The soft dentin layer contains pores known as tubules that allow any stimuli to affect its nerve endings. That’s why cold water hurts tooth as it finds the right path to transmit the impulses.

Eating disorders

Some eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia nervosa, have a tremendous impact on the teeth. Tooth decay is the most prominent clinical manifestation of these diseases. Bulimia is represented by binge-eating and subsequent purging (vomiting). So the acidic materials in the stomach go to the mouth and erode the enamel that later develops tooth pain to cold water.

Anorexia patients consume little to no foods and minerals, without which tooth becomes demineralized. The demineralized enamel layer exposes lots of cracks and crevices in it. So the nerve endings are exposed and cause tooth pain when drinking cold water. Dentists suggest washing your mouth with water immediately after purging. If you want to brush your teeth, brush them after an hour of purging.

Persistent dry mouth

A dry mouth indicates the absence of saliva in your mouth. It can happen due to side effects of drugs or other health conditions. However, when the role of saliva ceases to exist, acidic foods find it more cozy and comfortable to stay longer in the mouth.

Saliva washes the food particles into the esophagus and neutralizes the acids by the bicarbonate contents. Why do teeth hurt when drinking cold water? That’s how dry mouth contributes to tooth decay.

Gum problems

Cold water can hurt your tooth without reaching the nerve roots in the pulp. Cold water affects the exposed part of the gum and stimulates the pain sensation. Due to the nature of pain, you can’t distinguish where it comes from, gum or the pulp. When the gum tissue recedes below, the patient comes complaining that their tooth has become longer or the roots have become yellow. They’re right about the signs, which clearly tell about gum recession.

If plaques build up along the gum line or around the teeth, it may spread the infection to the gum tissues. Keep the tooth free of devilish plaques through flossing, brushing, regular follow-up with doctors, and you’ll keep the periodontal diseases at bay.

Periodontal diseases are common worldwide. The ratio ranges from 20-50% in both developed and developing countries. Some people even don’t know that they’ve caught gingivitis, aka gum inflammation. Periodontal ligaments bind the teeth with the jaw. If they get infected or inflamed, hot or cold water will cause toothache.


Gastroesophageal Reflux Diseases can have harsh effects on teeth. If you have acid reflux disease or GERD, you might know the hell of discomfort it brings to life. Stomach contents that retain highly damaging acidic materials regurgitate into the mouth and affect the enamel of teeth.

If you’re suffering from this disease without treating it, you’re going to experience erosion of enamel soon enough. The teeth at the back of the mouth get the first blow of these strong acids. Even the most intricate enamel can’t stand the stomach acid, hydrochloric acid.

Inaccurate brushing methods

Brushing teeth is a must to maintain proper dental health. While doing it the right way will benefit you, brushing teeth can harm you a lot if you do it the wrong way. Some of us put pressure on the brush and vigorously hover it over the teeth. They think that this way the teeth will be cleaner. But then they wonder, why do my teeth hurt when I drink cold water?

The bristles in your brush should be soft. Fantastic if it’s angled or multi-layered. You shouldn’t brush your teeth overzealously, and you’ll just hasten the tooth decaying process this way. Eventually, the nerve endings in the dentin layer get exposed. If you drink cold water, you’ll feel a sharp and intermittent pain in your teeth.


Certain medications indirectly contribute to tooth erosion and thus raise sensitivity to cold water if you take them regularly. Allergic medicines like antihistamines and even aspirin cause tooth pain due to cold water. These medications stop saliva secretion at a great scale. That’s why sugary and acidic foods in the mouth take the courage to stay longer and erode the enamel layer.

Filling or Dental devices

If you undergo any filling processes that involve drilling, your teeth’ sensitivity to pain may last for two weeks. The cervixes in teeth expose the nerve endings that may get irritated with cold water. Over time, your old fillings may wear off or get leaky in some areas. Bacteria immediately harvest these options to crevasse the teeth.

If the cracks and cervices in the dental devices get loaded with bacteria, acidity will increase in the mouth. The harsh effects of acids will slowly eat away the enamel and expose the dentin layer. When you drink cold water, the tubules in the dentin layer allow the temperature to trespass to the pulp, and you feel a sharp and intermittent pain in your teeth.


Some people are genetically susceptible to dental wear due to the thinner enamel layer. My niece has the same problem that persists in her father also. She has thinner enamel in the incisor and canine teeth. Though her mom tries to keep her away from sugary foods, she won’t hear as she’s mad at chocolates. That’s a problem with the little kids.

Bacteria and the acidic assault have eaten two of her teeth from the very gumline. Fortunately, they’re milk teeth, and eventually, she’ll teether brand new teeth. But the rate at which her teeth decays is something genetic.

Tooth-whitening toothpaste & mouthwash

If you use tooth-whitening strips or go through a teeth-whitening procedure, you may develop temporary tooth sensitivity. You don’t know if your teeth are sensitive to the chemicals used in these bleaching gels and whitening toothpaste.

Some manufacturers use harsher chemicals in the mouthwash and toothpaste, which will eventually cause decay. You’ll feel sharp tooth pain when you drink cold water. However, discontinue the use of tooth-whitening procedures, and you’ll get relieved of the pain.


Some people grind their teeth unconsciously, and that’s a significant contributor to dental decay. This tooth-grinding problem is medically known as bruxism. If you clench your jaw frequently, your enamel can’t hold out the pressure for a long time. The enamel of your teeth will wear away and expose the middle layer, dentin which is very sensitive to heat or cold.

If you have such a lousy habit of grinding teeth now and then or at sleep, it’s for now or never to give up this bad habit. Your teeth may get cracked or chipped if you continue the practice. However, mouth guards can come in handy if it’s beyond your control. You may find some good mouth guards in stores if you check appropriately. Always keep away from the slightest hints of stress and sleep well at night. The tooth grinding condition will slowly go away if you follow these rules.

Cracked or chipped teeth

Our teeth are good tools to use in small chores. However, gnawing at anything won’t bring good for you. So before you gnash at nails or pens, remember that you could crack your teeth. Though it’s a common practice to open a bottle with teeth, you should give a second thought to it if you have tooth sensitivity.

Misaligned bite

Misaligned teeth contribute to dental wear as the bite doesn’t go even when you munch on kernel or ice cream. The teeth collide on the uneven surfaces and gradually wear down, leading to exposure of the dentin. Misaligned bites may form deep burrows in the teeth that assist the temperature trespass to the nerve roots. It’s one of the major reasons cold water hurts your teeth when you drink something cold.

You can use orthodontics like braces to align the row of teeth. It’ll help you prevent slow decay of teeth. The alignment of the bite will bring the jaw into the correct position. Your face-cutting might get sharp and perfect if you align the entire jaw, if needed.


Aging plays a significant role in dental wear. The more you age, the more your teeth erode. Using teeth daily for 40 to 50 years should impact the teeth, shouldn’t it? If you follow the preventive measures and maintain oral hygiene, your teeth will be healthier than your same-age counterparts. But you have to yield to the natural dental erosion and have a compromised smile when you’re old.

Poor nutrition

A good eating habit is necessary to maintain proper dental health. Cells won’t grow and harden if you don’t give them enough nourishment. Minerals like calcium, phosphorus, fluorine are the most important chemicals to hold the defense of your mouth.

Insufficient nutrition due to health conditions like anorexia can cause a deficiency in the constituent components of the teeth. If you don’t follow a balanced diet, the wrong blend of foods that exclude the right minerals will demineralize teeth. Such a diet will lead to cavities, and your tooth will hurt when you drink cold water.

Dental hygiene

To maintain the perfect condition of your teeth even at your older age, you should strictly follow the rules of oral hygiene. According to American Dental Association, soft-bristled toothbrushes are the best to clean your teeth twice a day after meals. It’s better to brush at least one hour after having a meal. And brush your teeth with a gentle touch, not vigorously.

Rinse with fluoride-rich mouthwash, and it’ll even refill the damage done to the teeth. Some toothpaste brands their products as highly affluent in fluoride. Flossing can help you prevent the onset of dental decay. Nevertheless, don’t ever give plaques the space to settle down in your teeth. Otherwise, your teeth will hurt whenever you drink something cold or hot.

Last Words

Beautiful teeth glorify the smile. If you maintain the hygiene of your body’s entry, you can ward off lots of diseases. We’ve discussed most of the factors responsible for tooth pain in cold water. If you want to drink cold and fresh rainwater from the sky, it’ll hurt you if don’t avoid these factors. Does this query still wander around your head, “why do my teeth hurt when I drink cold water?” Let me know if you have any queries or want to know more about specific topics.

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