FAQ

Tooth Sensitivity FAQs

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 food or drinks
    • Hot food or drinks
    • Sweet or sour foods
    • Breathing in cold air
    • Brushing teeth 

    See Common Triggers of Sensitive Teeth to find out more.

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 whitening-related sensitivity if you are considering having a tooth whitening treatment.

    See do Whitening Treatments Cause Sensitivity for more information.

  • People with exposed dentine are susceptible to tooth sensitivity, triggered, for example, by cold drinks or hot food. Sensodyne formulas work in two different ways: Sensodyne toothpastes with potassium nitrate work to relieve the nerves inside the tooth. Sensodyne Repair & Protect with stannous fluoride builds a robust reparative layer over the exposed dentine to create a barrier to pain triggers. Each Sensodyne toothpaste is proven to relieve the pain of tooth sensitivity with twice daily brushing.

  • Sensitive teeth can affect people of all ages and can result from a number of factors. It is best to discuss this with your dentist or hygienist who can give specific advice on your sensitivity.

    Sensitive teeth may indicate an underlying dental problem which you should not ignore. See your dentist as soon as possible for advice.

Acid Wear FAQs

  • The wearing away of enamel, caused by acid in our diet, is called "Acid Wear." As few as four acidic "occasions" throughout the day can put our enamel at risk from acid wear. If your tooth enamel is at risk of acid wear, ask your dentist about the issue, for dietary advice, how best to consume the many acidic foods and drinks in the modern diet and the best oral hygiene routine for you.

    You may also use a fluoride toothpaste specially developed for people at risk of acid wear, such as ProNamel.

  • Over time, acidic foods and drinks can cause your teeth enamel to wear down. These include fruit and fruit juices, carbonated drinks, black coffee or tea, wine and anything that tastes sharp, like ketchup or salad dressing. To help protect your teeth against acid erosion, talk to your dentist and use a fluoride toothpaste specially developed for people at risk of acid wear, such as ProNamel. Ask your dentist for dietary advice on the best oral hygiene routine for you and how best to consume the many acidic foods and drinks in the modern diet.

  • Brushing too hard can speed up wear caused by the acidic food and drink in your everyday diet. Tooth enamel is particularly vulnerable to brushing in the minutes right after these foods and drinks have been consumed. Brush using a soft toothbrush and avoid brushing straight after consuming acidic foods and drinks.

  • The effects of Acid Wear can affect all ages and while initial enamel softening is reversible, once enamel is lost, it is lost forever. That's why protection is the best policy.

  • You don't have to change your diet or lifestyle completely, but you can make small changes to minimize acid wear. For instance, use a straw when drinking soft drinks or fruit juices. Also, brush with an enamel care toothpaste such as ProNamel that is dentist-recommended and specially formulated to help re-harden acid softened tooth enamel and protect teeth from acid wear. That way, you can carry on eating and drinking the foods and beverages you love.

    Ask your dentist if you are concerned about acid wear.

  • Yes. Acid erosion can contribute to enamel abrasion. Enamel is the hard outer layer of a tooth. Although it’s harder than any other substance in the body, with time it can gradually be worn away to expose the layer of dentine beneath, which may lead to tooth sensitivity.

  • Because you may not be able to see or feel it at first, early evidence of Acid Wear is most accurately identified by a dentist.

    See "What Are the Signs of Acid Wear?"

  • To help protect your teeth against the effects of dietary acids, there are several steps you can take:

    • Avoid brushing teeth immediately after consuming acidic food or drinks, as this is when the enamel is at its softest.
    • Drink acidic drinks quickly - don't swish them around or hold them for prolonged periods within your mouth. Or, use a straw placed towards the back of the mouth, away from teeth.
    • Brush teeth gently, but thoroughly, with a soft toothbrush.
    • Brush twice a day, every day, with an enamel care toothpaste like Pronamel to help re-harden tooth enamel and protect it against the effects of future acid challenges.
    • Have regular dental check-ups and talk to a dental professional about any concerns. 
  • Yes. In fact, acid wear is a growing concern with a majority of dental professionals reporting that they see children with signs of acid wear on a weekly basis. For today's children, the modern diet of fruit drinks, soft drinks, fruits and vegetables is the primary cause of acid wear.

    (SOURCE: http://www.pronamel.co.uk/en/sensodyne-pronamel-for-children/
    SOURCE: http://sensodyne.co.uk/products.html)

    See "How Common is Acid Wear?"

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