Tooth Sensitivity FAQs:

  • What is tooth sensitivity?

    Dentinal hypersensitivity, or tooth sensitivity, is a common dental problem that can arise when dentine, the inner part of the tooth, becomes exposed. It’s a condition that can develop over time, as a result of common problems such as receding gums and enamel wear. 

    Find out What Causes Sensitive Teeth

  • What causes tooth sensitivity?

    Tooth sensitivity can start to happen when the softer, inner part of the tooth called ‘dentine’ becomes exposed. Dentine lies under the enamel and the gums. Thousands of microscopic channels run through the dentine towards the centre of the tooth. Once the dentine is exposed, external triggers (such as a cold drink) can stimulate the nerves inside the tooth, resulting in the characteristic short, sharp pain of tooth sensitivity.

    See What Causes Sensitive Teeth to find out more

  • How can I protect myself against sensitivity?

    Talk to your dentist about the symptoms you are experiencing. They can confirm that tooth sensitivity is the cause of your problem and then advise you on how to care for sensitive teeth, for example, what is the best toothbrushing technique for you, how often and when. In addition, you can relieve the painful symptoms of tooth sensitivity by changing your regular toothpaste to a daily use toothpaste specially formulated to treat sensitive teeth, such as Sensodyne®

    See Ongoing Oral Care For Sensitive Teeth to find out more 

  • What triggers sensitive teeth?

    A range of things can trigger a twinge or tooth pain for people with sensitive teeth. Here’s some of the most common triggers for tooth sensitivity:

    • Cold foods or beverages
    • Hot foods or beverages
    • Sugary foods
    • Sour foods
    • Breathing in cold air
    • Brushing teeth 

    See Common Triggers of Sensitive Teeth to find out more.

  • Is tooth sensitivity a common dental problem?

    Yes. Sensitive teeth may affect as many as 1 in 3 people, even young adults. Most sufferers are between 20 and 50 years old.

  • Is tooth sensitivity a sign of a more serious dental problem?

    There can be many different causes of dental pain other than tooth sensitivity. So if you are feeling any tooth pain or discomfort, especially if it persists, the best thing you can do is visit your dentist and seek professional advice. 

    See Other Reasons for Sensitivity to find out more.

  • Can brushing too hard cause sensitive teeth?

    Brushing overly aggressively or more frequently than your dentist recommends can contribute to gum recession and wear enamel. Over time, receding gums and enamel loss can lead to exposed dentine and tooth sensitivity.

    See Other Reasons for Sensitivity to find out more

  • Can tooth whitening cause sensitivity?

    Tooth whitening here means whitening treatments carried out under the supervision of your dentist. These treatments contain bleaching agents (peroxide), which are known to cause sensitivity in some patients. This is not the same as dentinal hypersensitivity, which happens as a result of having exposed dentine (the softer, inner part of the tooth). Speak to your dentist about bleaching-related sensitivity if you are considering having a tooth whitening treatment.

    See do Whitening Treatments Cause Sensitivity for more information

Frequent questions about toothpaste for sensitivity