Frequently Asked Questions
Do your teeth twinge when you eat or drink certain foods? Do you
suffer from painful teeth due to tooth sensitivity? Is your
sensitivity a daily problem or perhaps just an occasional
annoyance? Chances are you have "dentine hypersensitivity", another
name for sensitive teeth.
Sensitivity is a common dental problem. It's not a
disease, but rather a condition that develops over time due to
common factors such as receding gums and tooth grinding. Most
sufferers are between 20 and 50 years old.
Tooth Sensitivity FAQs
What is tooth sensitivity? [+]
Tooth sensitivity, often described by consumers as a "tooth
twinge", "tooth ache" or "sore teeth" most frequently occurs when
eating or drinking hot or cold food and drinks. You may also feel
discomfort when consuming sweet or sour food and drinks, or when
you brush your teeth and rinse with cold water. Many adults have
only occasional tooth sensitivity. Some adults experience chronic
pain. Tooth sensitivity may be an indication of an underlying
dental problem. Please consult your dentist.
See "About Sensitive Teeth."
What causes sensitive teeth? [+]
Underneath the tooth's protective enamel coating is a highly
porous layer called "dentine". Dentine is made from thousands of
microscopic tubules. Once dentine is exposed, nerve within the
dentine tubules can become susceptible to triggers such as cold
food or drinks and respond with a short sharp pain.
Causes Sensitive Teeth?"
How can I prevent sensitive teeth? [+]
Brushing with a sensitivity toothpaste such as Sensodyne is one
way to protect against sensitivity. Another is to avoid brushing
too hard and to use a soft-bristled toothbrush specially designed
for sensitive teeth. Taking good care of your teeth and seeing your
dentist regularly can also help protect against conditions that
contribute to sensitivity, such as gum disease, tooth decay and gum
See "Preventing Sensitvity."
What triggers sensitive teeth? [+]
Sensitive teeth can be caused by gum recession, loss of enamel
or damage to teeth and gums. Temporary sensitivity can be caused by
cosmetic professional or at-home whitening treatments. Sensitive
teeth can hurt as a reaction to:
- Cold foods or beverages
- Hot foods or beverages
- Sweet or sour (acidic) foods
- Plaque and bacteria
- Chemical stimulus
- Dry mouth
See "Sensitivity Triggers."
Is tooth sensitivity a common dental problem? [+]
Yes. Sensitive teeth affect many people and can start at any
time. Sensitive teeth may affect younger people as a result of
changes in modern lifestyles and eating habits. As we consume more
acidic food and drinks and snack more often during the day, we are
more at risk of developing sensitive teeth.
Can tooth whitening cause sensitivity? [+]
Tooth whitening treatments are becoming increasingly popular.
Typically, the ingredients in the products used for whitening are
hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These are usually
administered through a specially made tray (similar to a
gum-shield). As the whitening agent is broken down, oxygen gets
into the enamel on the teeth and the tooth colour is made lighter.
Tooth sensitivity is widely recognized as being associated with
tooth bleaching procedures. There is no exact science to predicting
if you will experience sensitivity but reports suggest that up to
80% of patients using bleaching will experience some sensitivity.
Be sure to discuss this with your dentist prior to any
See "Whitening Treatments
Sensodyne Product FAQs
How does Sensodyne work? [+]
Sensodyne's potassium formulations work at the source of the
pain by blocking pain signals from the nerve. In other words,
Sensodyne depolarizes the nerve. Dentists recommend using Sensodyne twice a day just as you would
use your normal toothpaste.
Why should I use Sensodyne dental floss/dental tape? [+]
Coated with a smooth wax treatment that dissolves to release
fluoride, Sensodyne dental floss is a gentle, monofilament fibre
that is designed to move easily between teeth, even in tight
spaces. Suitable for people with sensitive teeth, it is an
important part of your overall oral care plan to help protect
Is Sensodyne safe to use during tooth-whitening treatments? [+]
Yes. Research has shown that using Sensodyne two weeks before
and during the whitening process can significantly:
- Reduce the chances that tooth sensitivity will develop.
- Increase "sensitivity free" days.
- Improve overall satisfaction with the whitening process.