man inspecting teeth in reflection

Teeth Whitening for Sensitive Teeth – Everything You Need to Know

teeth whitening sensitive teeth graphic

So you want a brighter smile, but you’ve heard about how unforgettable teeth whitening kits can be. Maybe you’ve even heard rumors of some horror stories of the severe pain it can cause. You remain hesitant and cautious, especially since you can barely drink a glass of cold water without wincing. 

The American Dental Association (ADA) states that teeth whitening can be beneficial to both intrinsic and extrinsic teeth stains, but also makes note that some may experience side effects, such as temporary tooth sensitivity and gingival inflammation. For some, this is a mildly irritating sensation around the gum line, but it can be a more intense discomfort for others. This pain is mainly due to underlying issues. The good news is that you can reverse these issues, finally get your teeth whitened and show off a new radiant smile! 

In this guide, we break down the main reasons some experience this level of discomfort and offer some alternatives for teeth whitening for sensitive teeth.  

Reasons Your Teeth Become Sensitive

Teeth become sensitive for generally two reasons: a tooth’s enamel condition and the lack of saliva flow inside the mouth that results in tooth dehydration. 

Enamel Condition

In most cases, teeth are sensitive due to the condition of their enamel. With a thinner protective layer that has worn away over time, your tooth’s inner layer is more exposed. Since we use our mouths to eat every day, it causes stress to our teeth and gums. However, this is bound to happen to everyone, which is why it’s essential to maintain oral hygiene by taking preventative steps. 

man checking teeth in mirror

Here are a few common mistakes and preventative steps you can take to take better care of your teeth’s enamel:

  • Overbrushing
  • Brushing too hard
  • Grinding teeth 
  • Over-bleaching with whitening products

Everyone knows that proper dental care means brushing at least twice a day and flossing regularly. However, what many don’t know is how to brush correctly. It’s cleaning mistakes like these listed above that can cause weakened enamel and exposed nerves, causing sensitivity. 

Lack of Saliva

Whether a professional treatment by a dentist or an at-home product, teeth whitening products are formulated with a mixture of hydrogen and carbamide peroxide. This hydrogen and carbamide peroxide mixture can cause irritation. Essentially, this can happen when the peroxide penetrates the enamel and reaches the soft dentin layer, where nerves are located.  

While this is the leading cause of sensitive teeth, there are others. For instance, trays may not fit properly and a higher concentration of peroxide can exacerbate a tooth’s sensitivity. Sensitive teeth can also be caused by other oral issues, such as receding gums, gingivitis and cracked teeth.  

Tooth Dehydration

Many teeth whitening products can cause temporary tooth dehydration, even for those with good oral health.  

Essentially, once the whitening gel is activated, the pore-like tubules on each tooth open up. As these tubules open, it leaves the tooth more exposed than usual, causing dehydration. And when the tooth dehydrates, the inner dentin layer shrinks and applies pressure to the underlying nerves. This pressure and sensitivity will last until saliva can rehydrate the mouth, taking anywhere from several hours to 48 hours for those with a lower saliva flow condition known as dry mouth.   

reasons teeth become sensitive graphic

Speak to Your Dentist Before Trying At-Home Teeth Whitening

Before you start an at-home teeth whitening kit, speak to your dentist. A dental professional can examine your teeth and prepare your teeth in a way that will achieve the best results. Before starting an at-home whitening program, you need to address other oral health issues, like gum disease and hidden cavities, that may cause greater tooth sensitivity.

Ask your dentist if your teeth whitening is recommended. Your dentist knows your personal dental history and they may give you the go-ahead, but they also may recommend you hold off until other oral health issues are taken care of. Otherwise, teeth whitening could cause further damage to your teeth’s enamel and nerves, increasing your sensitivity.

Luckily, many oral health issues can be reversed and are fully treatable. Once you have any suspicious cavities filled and gum disease is healed, your dentist may find your teeth are in decent shape and finally approve. Then, you can start your teeth whitening journey to find the perfect smile. 

Teeth Whitening Options for Sensitive Teeth

Many men and women experience sensitive teeth, so it’s important to find the right option for each. A professional tooth whitening treatment done by your dentist is effective, as are porcelain or composite resin veneers. More notably, both of these teeth whitening options can be quite expensive, especially since most dental insurance policies do not cover cosmetic type procedures and will be paid directly out of your pocket. However, cost aside, both of these options are not nearly as convenient as teeth whitening kits you can do in the comfort of your own home.

blue hands free whitening device

BLU Hands-Free Toothbrush & Whitening Device

At-home teeth whitening kits offer a more affordable and efficient way to get a radiant smile. Unfortunately, there are many at-home teeth whitening kits that still cause sensitivity. For some, this irritation and sensitivity can last for several hours after each application, especially when not used correctly. Whether it’s whitening toothpaste, gels, strips, trays or rinses, it’s important to examine labels and seek out sensitive-free products. Specifically, certain teeth whitening products like trays and strips, which come in contact with your gums, can cause extreme irritation for some.

GO SMILE’s Teeth Whitening Solution for Sensitive Teeth

This is where GO SMILE excels. GO SMILE takes pride in offering teeth whitening products that cause absolutely no sensitivity! If you’re looking for a way to whiten your teeth at home without pain or irritation, you’ve come to the right place. 

GO SMILE understands that a vast number of people experience some degree of tooth sensitivity. That’s why we created and offer customers premium teeth whitening products that are designed and tested to offer virtually no sensitivity! From full whitening kits to gels to toothpaste, we offer several options to keep teeth sparkling white while taking great care of your teeth’s enamel surface. Say goodbye to messy trays and painful strips that irritate your gums and teeth!

Here are several of our top sensitivity-free teeth whitening products:  

our top sensitivity free teeth whitening products

Teeth Whitening Kit

Go SMILE’s teeth whitening kits offer a great starting point to achieve a more radiant smile. Choose from a variety of kits, each with their unique selection of various products. You can replace your regular brushing routine with any one of these teeth whitening kits! Simply use equal parts Teeth Whitening Gel with your favorite toothpaste or combine it with the whitening toothpaste.  

If you have not used GO SMILE’s products before, some of our teeth whitening kits also include our cutting-edge blue light toothbrush. Our advanced blue light toothbrush can kill harmful bacteria that cause bad breath and accelerate your teeth whitening experience by tackling tougher enamel stains. As a whole, this device can make your teeth appear brighter in two days and help your whitening routine last much longer.

Whitening Toothpaste

Replace your regular old toothpaste with whitening toothpaste. GO SMILE’s whitening toothpaste offers cavity-fighting ingredients with advanced formula Hyperox™ Technology. It will not only give you a deeper clean and brighter-looking teeth, but will leave your breath super fresh. 

Teeth Whitening Gel

GO SMILE’s teeth whitening gel can work hand-in-hand with your whitening toothpaste to achieve a deeper clean. For those with sensitive teeth, this product is perfect! Depending on your level of sensitivity, you can squeeze out a small or significant amount. This allows you to have complete control of how much peroxide you use, personalizing it to your comfort level and lowering any risk of irritation or pain. 

With hydrogen peroxide as its main active ingredient, our teeth whitening gel removes stains deep beneath the enamel’s surface. Plus, this fantastic whitening gel is proven to whiten up to 1o times better than other leading teeth whitening toothpastes. Once you complete your teeth whitening kit, this gel can be applied on your brush, alongside your regular toothpaste, for a regular dental routine.

Extra Teeth Whitening Steps to Avoid Sensitivity

Throughout a teeth whitening program, which can last anywhere from one to two weeks, it’s imperative to take proper care of your teeth and gums. Essentially, you want to minimize or avoid entirely certain foods and drinks that contain lots of sugar or acids, which can get trapped in the tubules and increase the risk of cavities and decay.  

teeth whitening care graphic

Avoid Sugars and Acidic Foods

Since the tubules are more open and exposed, it can also re-stain quite easily. Next to avoiding sugars and acidic foods and drinks, try to avoid colored food and drinks, too, such as red wine and coffee. This will help you achieve the most noticeable whitening results. 

Avoid Brushing Too Hard

Avoid brushing your teeth and gums too hard. While this seems like it will get off all the plaque and bacteria, it has adverse effects. In fact, over-brushing or aggressive brushing can actually erode the enamel and leave exposed nerves. And a weakened enamel and exposed nerves can lead to a more sensitive teeth whitening experience. 

Don’t Over-Bleach or Over-Whiten

Along the same lines, you want to avoid over-bleaching or over-whitening. Bleaching and whitening too frequently can cause sensitivity around the gums. Do touch-ups with a pen or gel applicator between completing a full program. Only complete a full teeth whitening kit once or twice a year. Otherwise, you can create exposed nerves.

Maintain Your New Brilliant Smile

Once you have a dazzling and radiant smile, you want to maintain it! Here are some tips for prolonging those pearly whites.

Brush and rinse after meals. One of the easiest ways to maintain your teeth whitening hard work is to immediately brush your teeth or rinse your mouth out after eating or drinking. This goes especially for dark or colored foods that tend to stain, such as coffee, red wine and tea. 

teeth whitening before and after

Reach for healthier foods. Instead of grabbing a candy bar, reach for more nutritious foods. And not just any healthy food, but foods that can create a healthier smile. Just like some foods can stain teeth, others can help fight stains. 

Eat high-fiber fruits and veggies that stimulate saliva flow and keep your mouth moist and hydrated. Eat apples and celery instead of baked goods with starch that can get stuck within your teeth. Some dairy products, like yogurts and cheeses, are good for teeth and counteract bacteria that erode enamel. 

Use a straw. If you love to drink dark or colored drinks that could stain your newly brightened teeth, use a straw to bypass and protect them. Of course, you can always be environmentally friendly and carry a reusable metal straw alongside your teeth whitening touch-up pen

Avoid cigarettes and tobacco products. In general, smoking is bad for your health. But when it comes to your teeth’s appearance, cigarettes and tobacco products can cause yellowing.

Try Teeth Whitening Today!

If you want brighter teeth, get in touch with your dentist and determine if your teeth are ready for it! Once you get the thumbs-up, try one of our at-home teeth whitening products in the comfort of your home. 

Not sure if your teeth will be sensitive? Take it in baby steps, trying out the toothpaste and gel first. Once you determine how sensitive your teeth can be–if they are at all!–adjust from there and try out one of our full teeth whitening kits. 


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