Frequently Asked Questions

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Do feel a sudden 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 just an occasional annoyance? Chances are you have "dentin 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, also described as a short, sharp pain 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 what is the cause of tooth sensitivity

What causes tooth sensitivity? [+]

Underneath the tooth's protective enamel coating is a highly porous layer called "dentin."  Thousands of microscopic channels run through the dentin. Once dentin is exposed, the tooth can become susceptible to factors that trigger sensitivity, such as cold food or drinks and that's why you may feel a short, sharp pain.

See "What Causes Sensitive Teeth?"

How can I protect myself against sensitivity? [+]

Brushing with a sensitivity toothpaste such as Sensodyne® toothpaste is a good way to relieve sensitivity. In addition, you should 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, cavities and gum recession.

See "Minimizing the Risk of 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 foods
  • Chemical stimulus

See "Sensitivity Triggers."

Is tooth sensitivity a common dental problem? [+]

Yes. Sensitive teeth affect many people, even young people, and can start at any time.

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

Often, tooth sensitivity while bothersome, is not usually a sign of a serious dental condition. 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, which is another way dentin 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 color 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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Acid Erosion FAQs

What is Acid Erosion? [+]

The wearing away of enamel, caused by acid in our diet, is called "Acid Wear." It is also sometimes referred to as "Acid Erosion" or "Enamel Erosion."

To learn more, go to ProNamel.com.

What causes acid erosion? [+]

Many of the foods and drinks that we associate with a modern diet, including wine, soft drinks, many fruits, flavored ice tea and balsamic vinegar contain acid. The acid comes into contact with teeth, at which point the tooth's hard enamel surface softens. Then, when we brush our teeth, the enamel can be worn away more easily and become thinner over time. This wearing of enamel, caused by acid in our diet, is called "Acid Wear" or "Acid Erosion."

To learn more, go to ProNamel.com.

Can acid erosion cause teeth sensitivity? [+]

Yes. As dietary acid wears away tooth enamel, there is a greater likelihood that the underlying dentin layer will become exposed. Once dentin becomes exposed, the nerve in the center of the tooth becomes susceptible to stimuli, resulting in a short, sharp pain caused by certain triggers, such as hot or cold foods and beverages.

To learn more, go to ProNamel.com.

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Frequent questions about toothpaste for sensitivity

What is the #1 dentist recommended toothpaste for sensitive teeth? [+]

Sensodyne® toothpaste is the #1 dentist recommended toothpaste for sensitive teeth. 9 out of 10 dentists recommend it for patients with sensitive teeth.

How do desensitizing toothpastes work? [+]

Exposed dentin may become susceptible to triggers such as cold food or drinks. Sensodyne formulas work in two different ways: Sensodyne® toothpaste formula contains the active ingredient potassium nitrate and works at the source of the pain to calm and soothe the nerve.  Sensodyne® Repair & Protect formula contains the active ingredient stannous fluoride and builds a robust reparative layer over and within the exposed dentin tubules to create a barrier for pain triggers.  Each Sensodyne® toothpaste, with regular brushing, is proven to relieve the pain of tooth sensitivity. 

How often should I use Sensodyne® toothpaste? [+]

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

How long will I use Sensodyne® toothpaste before I notice less sensitivity? [+]

Clinical studies show potassium nitrate progressively reduces the pain of sensitivity over a period of weeks. The potassium ions in Sensodyne® toothpaste surrounds nerves and stops them from firing. This means transmission of nerve impulses is prevented and the resulting pain can be relieved. Stannous fluoride containing toothpaste (e.g. Sensodyne Repair & Protect) provides lasting protection against the pain of dentin hypersensitivity (tooth sensitivity) following 4 weeks of use when used as directed.  Always read the label. Sensodyne® toothpaste should be used twice daily to help prevent the nerve response and relieve the pain of sensitive teeth. Sensitive teeth may indicate an underlying problem that needs prompt care.  If symptoms persist or worsen see your dentist. 

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

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

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

The Sensodyne® toothpaste 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.

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

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

Can I use mouthwash after brushing with Sensodyne® toothpaste? [+]

Yes, you may use mouthwash or eat or drink after using Sensodyne® toothpaste.

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

All Sensodyne® toothpastes fall within the American Dental Association (ADA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) guidelines for daily use dentifrices. Typically, Sensodyne® toothpastes have low to moderate RDA in the range of 60-120, depending on variants (and market). Sensodyne® ProNamel® toothpaste, has a low RDA value of approximately 35.

Do Sensodyne® toothpaste tooth-whitening formulas actually bleach as well as relieve sensitivity? [+]

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

Is Sensodyne® toothpaste safe to use during tooth-whitening treatments? [+]

Sensodyne is for sensitive teeth. If your teeth are sensitive after whitening, you can use this product. Research has shown that using Sensodyne® toothpaste two weeks before and during the whitening process can significantly:

  • Reduce the chances that whitening related tooth sensitivity will develop.
  • Increase "sensitivity free" days during and after the whitening process.
How is Sensodyne ® Repair & Protect toothpaste different from the other Sensodyne® toothpaste? [+]

Sensodyne® Repair & Protect toothpaste uses a different active ingredient. The active ingredient used in Sensodyne® Repair & Protect toothpaste is stannous fluoride, which builds a repairing layer over the vulnerable areas of your teeth, to protect from pain. The other Sensodyne paste use the active ingredient potassium nitrate. 

What is Sensodyne® ISO-ACTIVE® toothpaste? [+]

Sensodyne® iso-active® toothpaste foaming gel is an innovative technology in toothpaste. Its delivery system disperses the toothpaste quickly, penetrating those critical, hard-to-reach areas of the mouth. Sensodyne® iso-active® toothpaste is ideal for those who experience tooth sensitivity as it provides all around sensitivity protection and relief.

How do I use Sensodyne® ISO-ACTIVE® toothpaste? [+]

Sensodyne® iso-active® toothpaste is delivered in a novel canister format, and its gel-to-foam action is a result of the inclusion of isopentane. Isopentane responds to increases in temperature caused by the warmth of the mouth. The active gel is stored in a special internal bag inside the can, known as "bag on valve" technology. When the can's nozzle is pressed, the pressure forces the gel out of the can. In the warmth of the mouth during brushing, the gel transforms into an active micro-fine foam, generating twice the foam volume as ordinary toothpaste and penetrating hard-to-reach places.

How does Sensodyne® ISO-ACTIVE® toothpaste compare to regular toothpaste? [+]

Generating more foam volume as ordinary toothpaste, the activated formulation of Sensodyne® iso-active® toothpaste disperses ingredients around the mouth helping to penetrate those critical, hard-to-reach areas and rinses clean away. Sensodyne® iso-active® toothpaste is ideal for those who experience tooth sensitivity as it provides all around sensitivity protection and relief.

How does Sensodyne® ISO-ACTIVE® toothpaste work? [+]

Isopentane responds to increases in temperature caused by the warmth of the mouth. This relatively small increase in temperature, combined with brushing, stimulates the enhanced foaming action of the product. Generating more foam volume than ordinary toothpaste, the activated formulation disperses active ingredients around the mouth which help to penetrate critical, hard to reach areas and rinse clean away.

What is isopentane? [+]

In Sensodyne® iso-active® toothpaste, isopentane is the ingredient that responds to the heat of your mouth, transforming the toothpaste gel into a micro-fine foam.

Do other toothpastes contain isopentane? [+]

In Sensodyne® iso-active® toothpaste, isopentane is the ingredient that responds to the heat of your mouth, transforming the toothpaste gel into a micro-fine foam.

Is isopentane safe to use in a toothpaste? [+]

Isopentane is a common ingredient used safely in a range of health and beauty products, including body wash and shaving gels produced by some of the world's leading global brands. Scientific evidence and experience of use of isopentane in a range of personal care products around the globe all support the safety and effectiveness of isopentane when used as indicated.

Can I brush for a shorter amount of time when using Sensodyne® ISO-ACTIVE® toothpaste? [+]

Although Sensodyne® iso-active® toothpaste generates more foam than regular toothpaste to quickly disperse active ingredients, it is still recommended to brush twice a day, every day, for two minutes, or as directed by a dental professional.

Does Sensodyne® ISO-ACTIVE® toothpaste contain CFC’s? [+]

No. Sensodyne® iso-active® toothpaste is pressurized within the canister using compressed nitrogen, which is an environmentally friendly propellant.

Can Sensodyne® ISO-ACTIVE® toothpaste be recycled? [+]

Please contact your local recycling facility to understand recycling capabilities in your area. The packaging components of Sensodyne® iso-active® toothpaste are similar to those found in standard shaving gel aerosol canisters.

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Sensodyne® Toothbrush

How do Sensodyne soft and extra soft toothbrush bristles compare with a regular soft-bristled toothbrush? [+]

The Sensodyne® Precision soft bristle Toothbrush features silky bristles designed to gently clean teeth. The Sensodyne Gentle extra soft bristle toothbrush features very soft tapered bristles that are gentle on gums.

What are the bristles made of? [+]

The bristles are made of nylon.

Why is the Sensodyne® toothbrush good for people with sensitive teeth? [+]

The Sensodyne® toothbrushes have a small angled head designed to provide effective cleaning, even in hard to reach areas. The silky bristles are specially designed to clean and stay soft on teeth. 

How often should one replace a toothbrush? [+]

GSK supports the American Dental Society (ADA) recommendation that consumers replace toothbrushes approximately every 3-4 months or sooner if the bristles become frayed with use.

Is the toothbrush made in China or are the ingredients sourced from China? [+]

Sensodyne Precision Toothbrush is manufactured in China. The Sensodyne Gentle Toothbrush is manufactured Germany and none of the ingredients are currently sourced from China.

What is the benefit of using this brush over an electric toothbrush? [+]

Within the literature, both manual and electric toothbrushes have been proven as effective in removing plaque from teeth.

Can I use this brush on my dentures? [+]

A Sensodyne® Toothbrush may be used to brush your dentures but using a denture brush may be better suited to reach the underside surfaces of your denture.

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