Building Smiles~What Causes Tooth Sensitivity

My Sensitive Toothpaste Test

my Colgate smile...

I have been testing Colgate® Sensitive Multi Protection toothpaste for the past two months. Before I started, my teeth were becoming increasingly more sensitive to cold and hot. I was on a mission to find out the cause of this, make some diet and lifestyle adjustments if necessary…and find a toothpaste to help.


I began my mission with research on They have some great articles on the subject like: What is Tooth Sensitivity? and Does Aspirin Cause Tooth Erosion?

According to Colgate: Dentin hypersensitivity affects up to 57% of dental patients. No matter what your age, you may 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. They can recommend proper treatment for tooth sensitivity.

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

What is Tooth Sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity affects many people and it is often caused by eating or drinking something hot, cold, sweet or acidic. If you have normal teeth, the underlying dentin (the layer that immediately surrounds the tooth’s nerve) is covered by the enamel and the gums. Over time, the enamel covering can get thinner, thus providing less protection. The gums can also recede over time, exposing the underlying root surface dentin. Yikes…

The dentin contains a large numbers of pores or tubes that run from the outside of the tooth to the nerve in the center. When the dentin is exposed, these tubes can be stimulated by changes in temperature or by certain foods.

microscopic view of dentin

What causes it?

According to, exposure of the dentin can occur due to a number of factors. Some of the more common reasons are:

  • Gum recession due to age or improper tooth brushing
  • Acidic beverages (such as soda) that cause enamel erosion and dentin exposure
  • Tooth grinding – this may actually cause most or all of the teeth to feel sensitive
  • Brushing with a very abrasive toothpaste
  • Brushing incorrectly and/or brushing more than three times a day
  • Gum disease, which can result in gum recession
  • A chipped or fractured tooth may expose the dentin

Some dental treatments can cause sensitivity also. Treatments such as teeth whitening, professional dental cleanings, having braces put on or getting a filling placed have been known to cause sensitivity during or after the procedure.

What can I do about it?

First, you must find out what the cause of your tooth sensitivity is. Your dentist can help you find an answer. If the sensitivity is due to exposed dentin, there are a number of things you and your dental professional can do to help reduce the sensitivity. These include:

  • Using a very soft bristle tooth brush
  • Brushing correctly to help prevent abrasion of the enamel and recession of the gums
  • Using a toothpaste specially formulated to help reduce sensitivity
  • Limit intake of acidic foods and drinks

Your dentist can:

  • Apply a fluoride varnish on the sensitive areas to help strengthen the tooth
  • Prescribe a high fluoride tooth paste to use every day
  • Place a dental restoration to build up the areas that have lost enamel

I am thrilled to report that just a few days after starting using Colgate Sensitive Multi Protection toothpaste, my teeth seemed to be less sensitive. After two months of use, I find only the occasional reaction. So it seems to work for me.

In the end, whether you need an in-office procedure or over-the-counter products, the most important step is to see a dental professional so that he or she can determine the cause of the tooth sensitivity and help you find a solution that will work. Mine was a combination of receding gums, brushing too hard and drinking soda!!!

Here is a video about sensitive teeth: Understanding Teeth Sensitivity: Video – Sensitive Teeth Causes, Tooth Sensitivity Treatment | Colgate.


Colgate has three toothpastes for sensitive teeth:

Sensitive Multi Protection fights tartar, removes plaque, promotes healthy gums and whitens teeth for a healthier smile with regular brushing.
Sensitive Enamel Protect™ helps protect tooth enamel from acid attacks.
Sensitive Whitening helps restore the natural whiteness of your teeth.

When your mouth is healthy, you can easily eat the foods you need for good nutrition. Smiling, talking and laughing with others also are easier when your mouth is healthy.

Here you’ll find answers to questions on sensitive teeth, enamel erosion and the Colgate® Sensitive toothpaste lineup.

Sensitivity Questions
Enamel Erosion Questions
Colgate Product Questions

Colgate has an entire section devoted to Adult Tooth Care and Senior Tooth Care as well as sections for Infants and Children and Teenagers.

Colgate also has great programs called Building Smiles and Colgate Smile where you can share your smile and spread some smiles with fun activities that you can post to FaceBook and Twitter and your blog with your beautiful smile.


More Information

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)

American Dental Association (ADA)

For more information about health and aging call or write:
National Institute on Aging

This post has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. All opinions are my own and are not provided by Colgate

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  1. says

    Great !! Colgate has an entire section devoted to Adult Tooth Care and Senior Tooth Care as well as sections for Infants and Children and Teenagers.


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