Frequently Asked Questions

Do your teeth 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 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 old.

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 chronic pain. 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". 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 pain.

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 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.

See the Pronamel Gentle Toothbrush.

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."

Acid Wear FAQs

What is Acid Wear? [+]

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."

See "About Acid Wear."

What causes Acid Wear? [+]

Many of the foods and drinks that we associate with a modern diet, including wine, soft drinks, many fruits, fruit 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".

See "What Causes Acid Wear."

Can brushing too hard cause Acid Wear? [+]

Brushing too hard can speed up Acid 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. After consuming acidic food or drink, some dental experts recommend swilling with water and waiting at least an hour before brushing your teeth.

Is Acid Wear permanent? [+]

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.

Do I have to give up the foods and drinks that cause Acid Wear? [+]

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 is specially formulated to help re-harden acid softened enamel and protect teeth from Acid Wear. That way, you can carry on eating and drinking the foods and beverages you love.

Can Acid Wear cause sensitive teeth? [+]

Yes. As dietary acid wears away tooth enamel, there is a greater likelihood that the underlying dentine layer will become exposed. Once dentine becomes exposed, the nerve in the centre 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.

What are the signs/symptoms of Acid Wear? [+]

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?"

How can I protect my teeth against 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. It is best to brush teeth before meals or wait for at least one hour after eating.
  • 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.
  • Brush teeth gently, but thoroughly, with a medium soft toothbrush.
  • Have regular dental check-ups and talk to a dental professional about any concerns.
  • Brush twice a day, every day, with an enamel care toothpaste like Pronamel to re-harden acid softened tooth enamel and protect it against future acid attack.
Can children get Acid Wear? [+]

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. For children under the age of 12, Pronamel for Children is specially designed to help protect against Acid Wear.

See "How Common is Acid Wear?"

Sensodyne Product FAQs

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

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

How does Sensodyne work? [+]

Sensodyne's potassium formulations work at the source of the pain by blocking 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 pain of sensitive teeth.  Sensodyne Repair & Protect 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 pain.

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? [+]

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 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 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.

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

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

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

Yes, you may use mouthwash or eat or drink after using Sensodyne. We recommend Sensodyne Total Care Gentle Mouthrinse as part of a good overall oral care plan to help protect against sensitive teeth.

Why should I use a Sensodyne toothbrush? [+]

Sensodyne toothbrushes are suitable for people with sensitive teeth and include features such as softer bristles for gentle brushing, round-ended bristles to help prevent gum irritation and special sizing for access inside the mouth. Use a Sensodyne toothbrush in conjunction with Sensodyne toothpastes to help clean and care for your sensitive teeth.

Where can I purchase Sensodyne toothbrushes? [+]

Sensodyne toothbrushes are available in the oral care section of most major drug and grocery retailers. Or, buy now online.

Why should I use a Sensodyne mouthwash? [+]

Used with Sensodyne toothpastes and toothbrushes, Sensodyne's Total Care Gentle Mouthrinse is part of a good overall oral care plan to help protect against tooth sensitivity. It is suitable for people with sensitive teeth, it has a low alcohol formula, a mild mint taste and fluoride to help fight tooth decay.

Why should I use Sensodyne dental floss/dental tape? [+]

Coated with a smooth wax treatment that dissolves to release fluoride, Sensodyne dental floss is a gentle, monofilament fibre that is designed to move easily between teeth, even in tight spaces. Suitable for people with sensitive teeth, it is an important part of your overall oral care plan to help protect against sensitivity.

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 American Dental Association (ADA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) guidelines for daily use dentifrices. Typically, Sensodyne toothpastes have an RDA in the range of 60 - 120, depending on variants (and market). Sensodyne Pronamel, and Pronamel for Kids have an RDA value of approximately 35.

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

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.
What is Sensodyne iso-active? [+]

Sensodyne iso-active® 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 is ideal for those who experience tooth sensitivity as it provides all-around protection and sensitivity relief.

How do I use Sensodyne iso-active? [+]

Sensodyne iso-active® 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 iso-active compare to regular toothpaste? [+]

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

How does iso-active 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 twice the foam volume as 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®, 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? [+]

Sensodyne iso-active® is the first toothpaste to contain isopentane.

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 iso-active? [+]

Although Sensodyne iso-active® generates twice the foam of 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 iso-active run out faster than ordinary toothpastes? It seems like it won't last as long as a tube. [+]

Each canister of Sensodyne iso-active® contains 100mL of toothpaste, the same amount as a standard 100mL tube.

Does iso-active contain CFCs? [+]

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

Can iso-active be recycled? [+]

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

Pronamel Product FAQs

How does Pronamel protect against the effects of Acid Wear? [+]

Pronamel is part of the Sensodyne range of enamel care toothpastes. It has been specifically formulated to help protect teeth from the effects of Acid Wear. It works in a number of ways:

  • It has an optimised fluoride formulation to help re-harden acid softened enamel and build protection against future acid attack.
  • It has low abrasivity to help limit damage to acid softened enamel.
  • It is SLS-free and has a neutral pH.
  • It contains potassium nitrate to help prevent dentine hypersensitivity.
Can children use Pronamel? [+]

Children may use Pronamel for Children, a special formula designed for use by children under the age of 12. 

Does Pronamel come in a tooth-whitening formula? [+]

Yes. Pronamel Gentle Whitening is specially formulated to help protect teeth from the effects of Acid Wear by re-hardening acid softened enamel. In addition, it has been specially formulated to gently yet effectively remove stains to restore teeth to their natural whiteness.

How often should I use Pronamel? [+]

Pronamel should be used 2 times a day, every day, in place of your regular toothpaste.

After I stop using Pronamel, will Acid Wear come back? [+]

Once tooth enamel is lost, it cannot be replaced. However, Pronamel can help re-harden tooth enamel that has been softened, to help protect your teeth against the effects of Acid Wear.

How long does it take Pronamel to work? [+]

Pronamel should be used 2 times a day every day. For people with Acid Wear, a dental professional may recommend that you use Pronamel as your regular everyday toothpaste to help re-harden acid softened enamel.

Why should I use a Pronamel toothbrush? [+]

The Pronamel toothbrush is designed for people who want to help protect against the effects of Acid Wear. Designed with a patented flexible gel pad that holds the brush bristles to provide effective cleaning, the toothbrush also features micro-fine bristle ends to be gentle on the tooth enamel. Use a Pronamel toothbrush with your daily Pronamel toothpaste as a complete oral care regimen to minimize Acid Erosion.

Why should I use a Sensodyne Pronamel mouthwash? [+]

Pronamel Daily Mouthwash is a unique fluoride mouthwash specifically developed in collaboration with dental experts. Its fluoride formula provides extra protection against the effects of Acid Wear and its unique Tri-Hydra™ polymers provide greater fluoride uptake than standard fluoride mouthwashes to help re-harden enamel.

Do I need to use a regular toothpaste alongside Pronamel? [+]

No, Pronamel provides all the benefits of a regular toothpaste: it contains fluoride to fight cavities, freshens breath and cleans teeth. Pronamel should be used 2 times a day, every day, in place of your regular toothpaste.

Does Pronamel do everything my normal toothpaste will? [+]

Yes, Pronamel provides all the benefits of a regular toothpaste. In addition to helping to protect teeth against Acid Wear, it contains fluoride to fight cavities, freshens breath and cleans teeth.