What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

When tooth enamel wears away or gum recession occurs —either can expose the inner part of your tooth called dentine. This dentine houses thousands of microscopic channels that run toward the center of the tooth, where the nerves are.

Certain triggers like cold drinks or hot tea can cause the movement of fluid in these channels and stimulate the nerve, causing a short, sharp pain.

Main Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

Enamel Wear Gum Recession

Gum Recession

Healthy gums are essential for healthy teeth. If gums recede, dentine can become exposed, making the teeth susceptible to tooth sensitivity.

Causes of Gum Recession

Gum disease

Symptoms include redness and swelling of gums.

Aggressive brushing

Using a hard-bristled toothbrush can also cause gum recession.

Enamel Wear

Enamel is the hard, outermost surface of the tooth protecting the dentine. Over time, if tooth enamel wears away, dentine becomes exposed, which can lead to tooth sensitivity.


Aggressive brushing

Brushing too hard or too frequently.

Acid erosion

Over time, acidic foods and drinks can weaken and erode tooth enamel, which exposes dentine.


Sensodyne is specially formulated to relieve tooth sensitivity and is the No.1 brand for sensitive teeth¹.

It works by creating a barrier over sensitive areas or by soothing the nerves inside your tooth, offering 24/7 sensitivity protection when you brush with it twice a day, every day.

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¹Source IRI [CHANNEL: NZ Grocery & pharmacy, MEASURE: $ sales (local currency), TIME: MAT 31/01/21 in NZ].