GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare

April 06, 2005 13:40 ET

One in Four Canadians Suffer from Dentin Hypersensitivity

But Half the Population Unaware Condition Exists Attention: Health/Medical Editor, Media Editor, Photo Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - April 6, 2005) - Editors Note: Picture(s) to accompany this release are available on the CP Picture Service from The Canadian Press.

An ice-cold glass of water, steaming hot coffee or the indulgence of a sweet dessert can be enjoyed by most without a second thought. But to more than one-quarter (28%) of the population, consuming these types of foods and beverages leads to cringes of pain because they trigger a dental condition called Dentin Hypersensitivity, or "DH."

According to a recent Decima/GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare survey of Canadians, over half the population (52%) is not aware of DH despite its prevalence. More surprisingly, thirty-seven per cent of those who actually suffer from DH are also not aware that this dental condition even exists.

Thirty-one per cent of women and twenty-five per cent of men suffer from DH. Commonly known as tooth sensitivity, DH occurs when the middle of the tooth, called dentin, is exposed either through loss of tooth enamel or by receding gums.

Traditionally thought of as an older person's problem, results from the study revealed the opposite. A significantly higher percentage of adult Canadians (31%) under the age of 55 stated that they suffer from sensitive teeth, compared to those 55 plus (21%). Today's current trend of using tooth whitening treatments, as well as changes in diet and over-zealous brushing are contributing to DH's growing incidence among young adults.

One in five sufferers just grin and bear it

Approximately one in five (16%) sufferers just grin and bear the pain by using no preventative methods at all. This doesn't have to be the case, according to the Canadian Advisory Board on Dentin Hypersensitivity and its Consensus-Based Recommendations for the Diagnosis and Management of Dentin Hypersensitivity. The Board found that the recurring pain of DH is often preventable. It recommends twice-daily brushing with desensitizing toothpaste as the first-line of treatment because it is an effective, non-invasive and inexpensive way of combating sensitive teeth.

"Over the years, I have seen too many people needlessly suffering with sensitive teeth because they don't ask their dentist about their problem," says Dr. David Alexander, BDS, MSc, Advisory Board Member and DH subject matter expert and Director of Professional Affairs, GSK. "Because DH is a dental condition that is easy to treat, I recommend ongoing brushing with Sensodyne to anyone with DH, once it has been properly diagnosed."

The survey found that approximately one-third (36%) of sufferers have not talked to their dentist about the problem.

Changing eating habits unnecessarily

While the Atkins and South Beach Diet have many Canadians changing the way they eat, there's another reason why some may be watching carefully what goes in their mouth. For sufferers who are bothered by their sensitive teeth, approximately one in four (26%) avoid certain foods or are changing their eating habits to avoid pain.

Although 49% of those who suffer from sensitive teeth use medicated toothpaste, fully one in every three (33%) of sufferers use other coping techniques to manage the condition, including: avoiding extreme hot and cold foods or drinks (26%); chewing on only one side of the mouth (25%); pointing a drinking straw away from affected teeth (16%); letting food cool before it is eaten (16%); requesting no ice in drinks (15%); and avoiding acidic food or drinks (10%).

The ouch factor: the cold, hard facts about DH

Cold, hot, sweet or sour foods or beverages and/or over-zealous brushing are the most common DH triggers. The number 1 trigger for sensitive teeth is something cold. Just over eight in ten (82%) of sufferers chose cold food, ice cream or iced drinks as one of their top three triggers.

Although everyone's experience is different, the pain generally comes on rapidly, feels sharp and intense and lasts for only a short amount of time. The pain often returns when triggered again.

Although the majority of those who suffer from sensitive teeth are aware of the triggers, nearly one-quarter (23%) are left in the dark as to what first caused their teeth to become sensitive. The primary causes of DH include gum recession or compromised enamel, which can be caused by different factors, including over-zealous brushing or diet.

Bleaching or chemically whitening teeth can temporarily cause tooth sensitivity. While this is a growing trend, only three per cent of sufferers identified chemicals to whiten their teeth as the initial cause of their teeth becoming sensitive.

"As soon as people become aware of the triggers and causes of sensitive teeth, and ask their dentist about what they can do to help avoid the pain, we find that they are relieved to learn that a simple solution exists and they don't need to compromise their eating habits," explains Janet Watson, Vice President Marketing, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare. "Twice-daily brushing with a medicated toothpaste, like Sensodyne-F, is an easy way to relieve and help prevent tooth sensitivity."

Sensodyne is the tooth sensitivity expert, number 1 dentist and dental hygienist recommended brand of sensitive toothpaste, and the only brand with the Canadian Dental Association seal of recognition for reducing tooth sensitivity. Sensodyne toothpaste not only helps prevent tooth sensitivity, but also provides many of the added benefits of regular toothpaste, as can be seen in its varied product line: Fresh Mint, Whitening and Tartar Fighting, Gel, Baking Soda Clean, Ultra Fresh, Revitalizing and Original. Sensodyne-F Toothpastes contain fluoride for cavity prevention and with regular brushing, fights plaque build-up above the gum line, and help keep gums clean.

Survey Methodology:

The Decima Research poll was conducted September 2004. The survey results are based on a representative randomly selected sample of 2,035 adult Canadians. Results for a sample of this size are considered accurate to within +/-2.2 per cent, 19 times out of 20, if the entire adult Canadian population was polled. The data was weighed to ensure the sample's regional and age/sex composition mirrors that of the actual Canadian population according to the 2001 Census data.

About GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare is one of the world's largest over-the-counter healthcare products companies and ranks second globally in sales of oral care products. Its many well-known products include such medicine cabinet staples as Sensodyne®, Aquafresh ®, Polident®, Poligrip®, Tums®, Gaviscon®, and Contac®. IN: HEALTH, MEDIA

Contact Information

  • Pamela Singh, Senior Consultant, GCI Group
    Primary Phone: 416-486-5914
    E-mail: psingh@gcigroup.com