Frequently Asked Questions

Tooth sensitivity FAQs

  • What is tooth sensitivity?

    Tooth sensitivity, often described by consumers as a "tooth sensation", "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 long standing sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity may be an indication of an underlying dental problem. Please consult your dentist. See About sensitivity

  • What causes sensitive teeth?

    Underneath the tooth's protective enamel coating is a highly porous layer called "dentine". Thousands of microscopic tubules run through the dentine. Once dentine is exposed, nerves within the dentine tubules can become susceptible to triggers such as cold food or drinks and respond with a short sharp sensation.

    See What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

  • How can I prevent sensitive teeth?

    Rushing 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

    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
    Chemical stimulus

  • 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.

  • 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, 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 people using bleaching will experience some sensitivity. Be sure to discuss this with your dentist prior to any treatment.

Frequent Questions about toothpaste for sensitivity

  • How does Sensodyne work?

    Sensodyne's potassium nitrate formulations work at the source of the discomfort by blocking twinge 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 NovaMin® technology or strontium acetate to relieve the discomfort of sensitive teeth.      

  • Does Sensodyne come in different variations?

    Sensodyne comes in many different variations to satisfy individual needs:

    Fresh Mint
    Fresh Gel
    Repair & Protect

  • Will my teeth become sensitive again if I stop using Sensodyne?

    If you stop brushing with Sensodyne toothpaste, your sensitivity can return, so it is best to make Sensodyne your daily toothpaste to get long-lasting relief. Sensodyne toothpastes can also provide the benefits of fluoride, cavity protection, fresh breath, and other benefits.


    Learn more about all the Sensodyne toothpastes.

  • Does Sensodyne toothpaste help prevent cavities?

    Yes. All Sensodyne toothpastes contain fluoride, which helps to protect against cavities when you brush twice a day.

  • 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 will I use Sensodyne before I notice less sensitivity?

    Sensitivity toothpastes require a period of twice daily use to benefit from lasting protection against the pain of dentinal hypersensitivity. 

    Clinical studies have shown that sensitivity toothpastes containing potassium nitrate, such as Sensodyne®, relieve tooth sensitivity in as little as 2 weeks, with twice daily brushing.
    Clinical studies have shown that, with twice daily brushing, toothpastes containing 5% NovaMin starts to work in as little as 1 week and provides significant benefits in as little as 2 weeks, with clinical improvements continuing over 6 months.

    Always read the label and follow the directions for use. Sensitive teeth may indicate an underlying problem that needs prompt care. If symptoms persist or worsen, see your dentist.

  • Does Sensodyne toothpaste have fluoride?

    All Sensodyne toothpastes contain fluoride, which is a naturally occurring mineral that rapidly enters mineralized tissue, such as bone and developing teeth. It hardens tooth enamel, protecting against tooth decay (cavities), so you can maintain healthy teeth every day.


    Learn more about the ingredients in Sensodyne and how they work to reduce tooth sensitivity.

  • Once I stop using Sensodyne, will my tooth sensitivity return?

    Whether or not the discomfort will return depends on the individual. To stop the sensitivity 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 fluroide?

    All Sensodyne® toothpastes variants contain fluoride

  • Why shoud I use a Sensodyne toothbrush?

    Sensodyne toothbrushes are specially designed for people with sensitive teeth and include features such as soft bristles for gentle brushing, round-ended bristles to help prevent gum irritation and a broad handle for better grip during brushing.

    Use a Sensodyne toothbrush in conjunction with Sensodyne toothpastes to help clean and care for your sensitive teeth.