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March 18, 2019 3 min read

10 Strategies to Combat Sensitivity Caused by Teeth Whitening

 Have you noticed your teeth aren’t as bright as they once were? Do you feel stains cling to your teeth more, even after thorough brushing and flossing? Have you been considering getting your teeth whitened but worried your sensitive teeth won’t be able to handle the discomfort?

 There are many teeth whitening systems that exist today. Both in-office and at-home treatments offer quick fixes or long-term results. However, if you have sensitive teeth, some of these methods can be painful and uncomfortable, which can put you off going down that road altogether. The good news is there exist simple strategies you can do to help alleviate the sensitivity you may experience.

 Before we get into them, let’s look at what tooth sensitivity is and why whitening products can irritate your teeth and gums.

 Why Are You So Sensitive

Firstly, teeth sensitivity is often caused when the enamel that protects your teeth becomes thinner, exposing the underlying surface called dentine, or when gums recede exposing the root. These factors reduce the protection that normally acts as a shield for the tooth and root, thus causing sensitivity and pain.  You may experience a rush of pain when your teeth are exposed to cold air or water.

 The exact reason why tooth sensitivity is often felt when whitening your teeth is largely unknown. However, it is known that peroxide (the main ingredient in most teeth whitening products) can irritate the tooth nerve. This sensitivity can be felt as a tingling or sensitivity to extreme temperatures.

 However, just because you have sensitive teeth it doesn’t mean you can’t achieve pearly whites without pain or discomfort. Try the following techniques to help with the sensitivity you may feel venturing down the road to a brighter smile.

 Strategies to Kick Pain to The Curve

#1. Follow the instructions to the letter

This includes if you decide to get treatment by a dentist or with at-home treatments. Always follow the instructions carefully and precisely.

#2. Try the less is more approach

If sensitivity starts to intensify try applying the treatment every other day, giving your teeth a days break between treatments. This short break can help to dull the pain.

#3. Take a painkiller

Taking a painkiller such as Advil an hour or so before your treatment may help to reduce or prevent the symptoms from surfacing. 

#4. Choose a product that has a lower peroxide level

Although it’s tempting to use a product with a high peroxide level because you think it will work better, it’s not worth the pain. Instead, choose a product with 6-10% peroxide.

#5. Try to limit cold food and drinks

If you suffer from sensitive teeth, you already know cold food and drinks can trigger pain. Yet, whitening products can further exasperate the sensitivity.

#6. Don’t overuse the product

Remember, you are using chemicals on your teeth and these chemicals can cause sensitivity. Use the recommended amount or you can end up damaging your teeth.

#7. Use a toothpaste formulated for sensitivity

These kinds of toothpastes are designed to help alleviate symptoms of tooth sensitivity.

#8. Use a soft bristle brush

Using a soft bristle brush can be gentler on your teeth and gums and won’t exasperate your symptoms.

#9. If symptoms persist notify your dentist

There may be another reason for your symptoms such as cavities.

#10. Use a desensitizing product

Ask your dentist for a desensitizing product that can be applied in the clinic. They have been used to help reduce sensitivity caused by many different issues.



Teeth whitening systems have come a long way in recent years. High-quality ingredients are now being used in both in-house and over-the-counter treatments. They are designed to be much gentler on teeth and gums. However, if sensitivity is a real concern for you then consult your local dentist first. They can determine the cause of your sensitivity and recommend to you the best approach to take. They also have extensive and up-to-date knowledge of the new products that are entering the market both in-office and DIY drugstore systems.