Foods to Avoid If You Have Sensitive Teeth

Have you experienced a sudden twinge or prolonged bout of tooth sensitivity? Cracked or fractured teeth, worn tooth enamel and receding gums all expose the nerves and lead to sensitivity.

Now that you know the cause, you probably want to know what you can do to minimize sensitivity. According to Pacific Beach dentist Ricardo Hernandez, there are certain foods that can aggravate sensitivity and should be avoided or eaten in limited quantities.

Acidic Foods

Acidic foods, like lemons, pickles or olives, or beverages like lemonade or limeade, can irritate already-sensitive teeth. Sports drinks, energy drinks and wine (especially white wine) also have acidic properties and should be avoided. The acid wears away at tooth enamel, exacerbating the root cause of the sensitivity. If you can’t avoid these acidic beverages altogether, at least drink a glass of water afterward to wash away some of the acid.

Something else to consider is the fact that the acid from acid reflux can aggravate sensitive teeth; so, if you suffer from reflux, stay away from the foods that you have already identified as triggers (e.g., tomatoes, onion).

Hot or Cold Foods

Foods that are hot or cold can cause sharp pangs of tooth sensitivity. Avoid soups, stews, chili, coffee, tea, ice cream and frozen yogurt. Don’t put ice in your soft drinks. Wait to consume your food or drink until it is about room temperature or a bit warmer.

Hard Candies

Sugary, hard candies are not good for people with sensitive teeth. Chewy candies and caramels can get stuck in cavities and underneath the gums, causing discomfort (and more decay). A piece of sugarless gum is a better alternative.


Like hard candies, biting down on ice can hurt sensitive teeth and possibly lead to fractures. Keep ice out of your mouth and your drinks altogether to prevent sensitivity.

Foods that Won’t Irritate Sensitive Teeth

Dairy is great for sensitive teeth; foods like cheese, animal milks and yogurts have caseins, which provide a protective layer over your dentin.

Foods high in oxalic acids — like spinach, bananas and rhubarb help to plug up the tiny tubes where sensitivity and pain originates.

Soft, bland foods like mashed potatoes, noodles and macaroni and cheese are also soothing and unlikely to irritate sensitive teeth.

Contact Dr. Hernandez

If you experience prolonged tooth sensitivity, you should have your teeth checked by Dr. Hernandez to rule out any underlying causes like disease or decay. Make an appointment at our Pacific Beach dental practice by calling 858-272-6047 or sending us an email.


4460 Olney Street

San Diego, CA 92109

(858) 272-6047

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