If your teeth itch or tingle, you might be wondering why.
Tingling teeth can be an occasional symptom that isn’t any cause for concern — or it can indicate something more serious.
This article will cover the causes and treatment of tingling teeth, as well as prevention strategies to make these symptoms less likely to keep happening.
If your teeth give you a shiver up your spine when you’re eating, or even just when you’re sitting still, you may need treatment. Or, you might not. It all depends on the underlying cause.
Tingling teeth can be a symptom of a cavity that needs to be addressed.
Tooth decay, which is caused by bacteria, causes brown or white spots to appear on your teeth. Over time, these spots can turn into holes in a tooth’s surface, and these holes can penetrate down to your nerve of your tooth.
A cavity in an advanced stage will need to be filled in by a dentist to preserve your tooth, and to stop symptoms of pain and tingling.
Cracked or broken tooth
If a tooth cracks or breaks, your nerve of your tooth may be exposed. Sometimes, you might not be able to see that your tooth is damaged, but you will feel symptoms of tingling teeth.
Cracked or broken teeth typically need to be treated with tooth repair. This can be done with bonding or a crown, or with a dental implant if your tooth cannot be fixed.
Tooth sensitivity, also called dentin hypersensitivity, means that your teeth are highly sensitive to certain types of stimulation.
That can mean that eating hot food, drinking something cold, or biting down too hard can cause a shuddering sensation or tingling teeth.
Tooth sensitivity happens when your tooth enamel has worn away or eroded by eating acidic food, brushing your teeth too hard, or as a natural part of aging.
The best treatment to preserve your enamel is prevention. After all, your tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body. You can also treat it with a special toothpaste or mouthwash that will help desensitize your teeth.
Your pulp is the fleshy area inside each of your teeth that contains blood vessels and nerve endings.
Pulpitis is inflammation in your pulp of one of your teeth, usually caused by bacterial infection. Symptoms include not only pain, but also tingling in the area of the inflammation.
Sometimes pulpitis can be treated by filling a cavity to protect your pulp of your tooth. Other times, your pulp of your tooth needs to be removed with a root canal.
Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain condition that affects your nerves on the sides of your face.
When you have this condition, shutting your jaw or brushing your teeth can sometimes cause tingling or intense pain, usually on one side of your face. Eating and drinking can also trigger symptoms.
Trigeminal neuralgia can sometimes be treated by antiseizure medications that are used to block your nerve’s signals to your brain. If medication doesn’t work for you, surgery is another treatment option.
Burning mouth syndrome
Burning mouth syndrome causes pain, tingling, and burning in your mouth, tongue, and teeth.
It can occur as a symptom of another health condition, such as allergies or acid reflux, or it can be a primary condition of its own without an underlying cause.
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, treatment for burning mouth syndrome may involve certain medications and avoiding triggers, such as acidic or spicy foods.
You may also be advised to switch your toothpaste and reduce your stress levels.
For most people, the best way to prevent symptoms of tingling teeth is to practice good oral hygiene.
To protect your teeth from infections and enamel wear, take the following steps:
- Always use a toothbrush that’s in good working condition, and choose one with softer bristles.
- Eat an enamel-friendly diet that limits acidic foods.
- Always wear a mouthguard when playing contact sports.
- Brush your teeth twice per day, and floss every day.
- Take steps to treat bruxism (teeth grinding).
- Contact your dentist regularly for an oral health checkup and cleaning.
If your teeth frequently tingle or cause you pain, you shouldn’t ignore it. Tingling teeth can be an early symptom of tooth decay or enamel erosion, and it’s better to get treatment sooner rather than later.
If you have tooth sensitivity that’s limiting your enjoyment of your favorite foods, ask a dentist for a prescription for a toothpaste or mouthwash that can help treat these symptoms.
It’s tempting to ignore tingling teeth, especially if your symptoms only occur once in a while.
But it’s important to talk with a dentist if you have symptoms of tingling teeth, if only to rule out a more serious dental condition. Your treatment will depend on the cause of your symptoms.