Frequently Asked Questions

Your Sensitivity Questions Answered

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What is sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity or dentin hypersensitivity is a very common condition that affects more than 45 million adults in the U.S.*

Sensitivity is experienced as a sharp pain, and it is triggered by eating hot or cold foods, drinking hot or cold beverages, breathing cold air, or eating sugary or acidic foods.

This occurs when the enamel is worn down or if the gum line is recessed. In both cases the dentin (the layer below the enamel in the crown of the tooth) is exposed.

What causes tooth sensitivity?

There are several reasons dentin can be exposed, leading to sensitivity.

  • Gum recession as a result of age or brushing too hard can cause tooth sensitivity. Gum disease can cause gum recession.
  • Acidic beverages can cause enamel to erode, thus exposing the dentin.
  • Tooth grinding can cause sensitivity because enamel erodes, exposing dentin. This can cause most or all teeth to feel sensitive.
  • Brushing with abrasive toothpaste, brushing too hard or brushing more than three times a day could wear down enamel.
  • A chipped or fractured tooth may expose the dentin and cause sensitivity.

My teeth are only sensitive sometimes. Is this common?

Yes. Many adults have occasional sensitivity to hot, cold or sweet beverages and food. Others suffer from constant pain. Regardless of the frequency of your pain, let your dentist or hygienist know. He or she can recommend proper treatment for tooth sensitivity.

How are sensitive teeth treated?

Sensitive teeth can usually be treated with anti-sensitivity toothpastes, like any of the Colgate® Sensitive variants.

How long does it take to get relief? How long will the relief last?

Speed of relief will vary from person to person. On average, users experience relief after two weeks weeks of continued twice-daily use. Colgate® Sensitive toothpastes provide long-lasting, clinically proven relief from painful sensitivity with regular use.

enamel erosion Next topic: Enamel Erosion

What is enamel?

Tooth enamel is the hardest and most highly mineralized substance of the body, and it is one of the four major tissues that make up the tooth. It is the visible dental tissue and is supported by underlying dentin.

What is enamel erosion?

Enamel erosion is the process of the loss of surface tooth tissue, mainly due to exposure to acid.

What causes enamel erosion?

The main cause of enamel erosion is tooth exposure to acids. Sources of acid exposure can be intrinsic (from within your body) or extrinsic (from outside your body). People at risk from intrinsic acid exposure include those who experience gastric reflux or recurrent vomiting. Extrinsic acid can be found in some of our most popular everyday foods and drinks. Examples include citrus fruits, apples, pickles, vinegar, sodas (both sweetened and diet), wine and orange juice.

How can I minimize enamel erosion?

To help prevent dental erosion, it is recommended you brush your teeth before eating an acidic food and to drink a glass of water when you are finished to wash away the acids. Alternatively, you should avoid brushing for at least 30 minutes after eating or drinking acidic foods or drinks. Consuming acidic foods and drinks leaves the enamel softened and more prone to erosion through brushing. Minimize contact of acidic drinks with your teeth's surface by drinking them with a straw. Use a fluoride toothpaste with low abrasivity, such as Colgate® Sensitive Complete Protection

Does Aspirin cause enamel erosion?

Several studies have found that Aspirin, if chewed, can contribute to tooth erosion. Aspirin can damage enamel and dentin. It can also irritate the soft tissues of the mouth.

Do chemicals in swimming pools cause enamel erosion?

If a pool is improperly maintained and the pH of the pool is too high, tooth enamel can be weakened and possibly cause tooth sensitivity.

receding gums, gum recession Next topic: Gum Recession

What is gum recession?

Gum recession or gingival recession is a condition where the roots of the teeth become exposed. If left untreated, gum recession can cause tooth decay and the eventual loss of teeth. Exposed roots can also result in tooth sensitivity.

What causes gum recession?

The main cause of gum recession is gum disease. Gum disease is a bacterial infection that destroys gum tissue supporting tooth bone. Gum disease is caused by plaque buildup on teeth. The plaque bacteria can infect gum tissue and bone, causing teeth to become loose or fall out. Aggressive tooth brushing can also cause gum recession.

How can I minimize gum recession?

Keeping your gums healthy is the key to minimizing rum recession. Brushing twice daily, flossing and regular visits to your dentist can all help reduce the occurrence of gum recession.

enamel repair toothpaste, sensitive teeth toothpaste Next topic: Product

What is potassium nitrate? How does it stop sensitivity?

Potassium nitrate is a chemical compound. In toothpaste, it is the anti-sensitivity active ingredient that penetrates the exposed tubules (tiny holes) of the teeth to relieve the pain from sensitive nerves inside teeth. Additionally, it is one of the ADA-approved ingredients to treat tooth hypersensitivity.

How long does it take to get relief and how long will the relief last?

Most people begin to feel relief after two weeks of use. On average, Colgate® Sensitive toothpaste toothpastes provide clinically proven relief from painful sensitivity within two weeks and continue to deliver long-lasting protection with regular use.

What makes Colgate® Sensitive toothpaste’s maximum strength?

Colgate® Sensitive toothpaste contains the maximum amount (5 percent) of the active ingredient potassium nitrate allowed by the FDA to treat and protect against hypersensitivity.

Can I use Colgate® Sensitive toothpaste as an everyday toothpaste?

Yes, any of the Colgate® Sensitive products can effectively clean teeth, provide everyday cavity protection, and they have a refreshing mint taste, in addition to providing clinically proven relief from painful sensitivity.

How does Colgate® Sensitive toothpaste fight cavities?

Colgate® Sensitive toothpaste contains sodium fluoride to fight cavities.

Do Colgate® Sensitive toothpastes clean as well as regular Colgate® toothpaste brands?

Yes. All Colgate® toothpastes clean teeth well by removing tooth debris by removing plaque and surface stains.

Can I whiten my teeth if they are sensitive?

If you are interested in whitening your teeth choose a toothpaste that helps restore your smile while also whitening your teeth, such as Colgate® Sensitive Whitening toothpaste.

How does Colgate® Sensitive Whitening toothpaste whiten teeth?

Colgate® Sensitive Whitening toothpaste contains high-cleaning silica to safely and gently whiten teeth by removing surface stains.

What does long-lasting protection mean?

Long-lasting protection with regular use means that as long as you continue to use the product, it will be effective. In fact, the effect of the product improves with continued twice daily use.

Why does it mention to use a soft-bristled toothbrush?

Tooth surface abrasion and gum recession can cause tooth sensitivity. A hard-bristled toothbrush can contribute to both, but a soft-bristled brush, such as Colgate® 360® Enamel Health™ Sensitive Toothbrush, is gentler and kinder to your teeth.

Why does it mention "Do not use this product longer than four weeks unless recommended by a dentist or physician"?

The FDA requires this statement on the packaging of all over-the-counter desensitizing toothpastes. Sensitive teeth may indicate a serious problem that may need prompt care by a dentist. If after four weeks of use you do not experience sensitivity relief, see your dentist.

How is Colgate® Sensitive Smartfoam® with Whitening toothpaste different from Colgate® Sensitive Whitening toothpaste?

Colgate® Sensitive Smartfoam® with Whitening toothpaste has 30 percent more foam than Colgate® Sensitive Whitening toothpaste, and it gets into tough-to-reach spaces.

What are the eight benefits of Colgate® Sensitive Complete Protection toothpaste?

Colgate® Sensitive Complete Protection toothpaste helps relieve sensitivity, protect enamel, defend against cavities, fight tartar, remove plaque*, promote healthy gums*, freshen breath and keep teeth whiter.

*with regular brushing