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

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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

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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

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