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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Do your teeth twinge when you eat or drink certain foods? Do you suffer from unpleasant teeth sensation 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 of age.

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 discomfort. 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 discomfort. See "What 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 recession.See "Preventing Sensitivity."

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 at greater risk of developing sensitive teeth.


Is tooth sensitivity a sign of a more serious dental problem? [+]

Often, tooth sensitivity is nothing more than a nuisance. However, sensitive teeth may indicate an underlying dental problem requiring prompt care by a dentist. See your dentist as soon as possible for advice. See "A Sign of Something More Serious?"

Can brushing too hard cause sensitive teeth? [+]

Yes. Brushing too hard can lead to receding gums. Over time, it can also lead to wearing away of the tooth enamel, which is another way dentine becomes exposed, causing sensitivity.

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 treatment. See " Whitening Treatments and Sensitivity".

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Sensodyne Product FAQs

How does Sensodyne work? [+]

Sensodyne's potassium formulations work at the source of the pain by blocking discomfort pain signals from the nerve. In other words, Sensodyne depolarises the nerve. Dentists recommend using Sensodyne twice a day just as you would use your normal toothpaste.Sensodyne toothpastes work with active ingredients such as NovaMin® technology or strontium acetate to relieve the discomfort of sensitive teeth. Sensodyne Repair & Protect has advanced, patented NovaMin® technology, which is scientifically proven to repair sensitive teeth by forming a tooth-like layer over exposed dentine to help continually repair and protect sensitive areas. It actually seeks out and repairs vulnerable areas that cause the occasional twinges of sensitivity. Sensodyne Rapid Relief contains strontium acetate, which is an element similar to calcium. The strontium in Sensodyne Rapid Relief replaces some of the calcium lost from the dentine and blocks the exposed tubules within the dentinal tissue. This prevents the flow of the fluid within the tubules that would otherwise cause tooth discomfort.

How often should I use Sensodyne? [+]

Use Sensodyne twice a day, every day, in place of your regular toothpaste for ongoing protection from tooth sensitivity.

How long should I use Sensodyne before I notice less sensitivity? [+]

Sensodyne should be used twice a day everyday to ensure maximum effectiveness. You should start to notice a difference in as little as two weeks. Your dental professional is likely to recommend that you use Sensodyne as your regular everyday toothpaste because tooth sensitivity is frequently a recurring condition.

Once I stop using Sensodyne, will my tooth sensitivity return? [+]

Whether or not the discomfort will return depends on the individual. To stop the discomfort from coming back, your dental professional may recommend replacing your regular toothpaste with Sensodyne and using it twice a day, every day.

Why should children under 12 consult a dentist before using Sensodyne? [+]

The Sensodyne variations for sensitive teeth are not formulated or recommended for children under the age of 12. Sensitivity is rarely a problem for children that young. Check with your child's dentist to get the proper recommendation.

Does Sensodyne contain fluoride? [+]

Nearly all Sensodyne toothpastes contain fluoride, including Sendodyne Repair & Protect, Rapid Relief, Fresh Mint, Fresh Impact, Cool Gel and Gentle Whitening.

Is Sensodyne available as a travel-sized tube? [+]

Sensodyne is available in a travel-sized tube in major retail outlets.

Can Sensodyne be dabbed on a sensitive tooth for immediate relief? [+]

Sensodyne Rapid Relief can be dabbed on for relief within 60 seconds (when used as directed). For other Sensodyne varieties, there is no clinical evidence to support dabbing as an effective means of application.

What is the Relative Dentin Abrasion (RDA) for Sensodyne? [+]

All Sensodyne toothpastes fall within the ADA (American Dental Association), FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) guidelines for daily use dentifrices. Typically, Sensodyne toothpastes have an RDA in the range of 60 - 120, depending on variants (and market).

Do Sensodyne tooth-whitening formulas actually bleach? [+]

Sensodyne whitening formulas do not bleach. They contain a matrix of polishing and cleaning ingredients which all contribute to the cleaning and whitening effect. Sensodyne variants contain clinically proven desensitising active ingredients.

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.

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