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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is dentine sensitivity?

Dentine sensitivity is a relatively common, painful condition of the teeth1. Typically the pain is short and sharp, arising from exposed open dentine tubules. The pain occurs in response to certain stimuli – such as thermal – applied to exposed dentine that cannot be attributed to another dental defect or disease. Therefore a diagnosis by exclusion is important2.

2. How important are dental professionals in the treatment of dentine sensitivity?

Professional recommendation combined with effective treatment is key. Patients experience, on average, a 40% (and sometimes even greater) improvement in their sensitivity with this powerful combination1.

3. What impact does sensitivity have on patients’ teeth and oral health?

Sensitive teeth impact negatively on patients’ lives and their oral hygiene. Up to 69% of the population will experience sensitivity at some time3.

When people have sensitive teeth:

– 42% find it painful at the dentist
– 52% change their tooth brushing habits – 77% modify their eating
– 85% are annoyed by the symptoms4.

4. What are the greatest risk factors of sensitivity?

Compared with non-sensitive teeth, dentine tubules in sensitive teeth are2:
– 8x greater in number
– 2x larger in diameter.
Combining these two factors, the fluid flow in teeth may be 100x greater.
The number and diameter of dentine tubules increase from the outer surface to the inner junction, increasing the likelihood of sensitivity worsening over time with loss of dentine2.

5. What is the importance of occluding/blocking tubules?

The most widely accepted mechanism of dentine sensitivity is the hydrodynamic theory proposed by Brännström, “whereby fluid flow within the dentinal tubules is altered (increased or changed directionally) by thermal, tactile or chemical stimuli near the exposed surface of the tubules”2. This movement stimulates the nerves in the dentine tubules2. Some treatments relieve dentine sensitivity based on occlusion of open tubules to block the hydrodynamic mechanism. Therefore, effective and robust blocking of dentine tubules offers the greatest prospect for lasting relief of dentine hypersensitivity5.

6. How does the mouthwash work?

LISTERINE® Advanced Defence Sensitive is a daily mouthwash featuring patented potassium oxalate crystal technology. Potassium oxalate binds to calcium in saliva and crystals are formed. The crystals are deposited on the dentine and deep inside the exposed open tubules. The crystals build with every rinse to provide deep, stable, comprehensive tubule occlusion.

7. Is potassium oxalate used in anything else?

Potassium oxalate compounds have been used before as part of professionally applied sensitivity treatments such as varnishes but LISTERINE® Advanced Defence Sensitive is the first patented potassium oxalate mouthwash proven to manage sensitivity effectively that patients can take home and use on an on-going basis.

8. How effective is the mouthwash?

The efficacy of LISTERINE® Advanced Defence Sensitive has been demonstrated in both in vivo and in vitro studies. LISTERINE® Advanced Defence Sensitive blocks 92% of dentine tubules in just 6 rinses6in vitro*. In a clinical study designed to measure a reduction in sensitivity at 2 and 4 weeks, LISTERINE® Advanced Defence Sensitive demonstrated 60% more pain relief than a standard fluoride paste at 2 weeks (p<0.05). This benefit was still demonstrated at 4 weeks7.

9. In terms of blocking tubules, how does this compare with sensitive toothpastes?

In just six rinses, Advanced Defence Sensitive blocks 92% of dentine tubules; twice as many as the leading recommended pastes6in vitro*.

10. With LISTERINE® Advanced Defence Sensitive, how long does it take before patients feel a benefit?

In a clinical study designed to measure a reduction in sensitivity at 2 and 4 weeks, LISTERINE® Advanced Defence Sensitive demonstrated 60% more pain relief than a standard fluoride paste at 2 weeks (p<0.05). This benefit was still demonstrated at 4 weeks7.

11. How quickly will the effects wear off in patients if they eat or drink after using the rinse?

The potassium crystals build with every rinse to provide deep, stable, comprehensive tubule occlusion. The stability of the occlusion was put through a rigorous erosive and mechanical test and demonstrated that LISTERINE® Advanced Defence Sensitive withstands the daily challenges patients’ mouths may experience to provide lasting protection for sensitive teeth8in vitro*.

12. Are you recommending a combined approach with sensitive toothpaste, or that patients should use the mouthwash alone with their standard fluoride paste?

Advanced Defence Sensitive can be used alone for lasting protection7 or in combination with the most recommended paste from the leading sensitivity brand, to significantly increase the number of tubules the paste blocks in vitro8,9.

13. What are the occlusion results when using a sensitive toothpaste?

The laboratory performance of some occluding toothpastes seems to indicate that these pastes leave a proportion of tubules unoccluded6. When Advanced Defence Sensitive was used in combination with the most recommended paste from the leading sensitivity brand, there was a significant increase in the number of tubules the paste blocked8,9in vitro*.

14. What is the difference between LISTERINE® Total Care Sensitive and Advanced Defence Sensitive? When would a patient use which?

LISTERINE® Total Care Sensitive is a cosmetic product based on potassium nitrate aimed at people with sensitive teeth who are seeking to protect against the causes of sensitivity, by improving their level of plaque control, preventing mineral loss, and by desensitizing the nerves that can cause tooth sensitivity. Advanced Defence Sensitive is an advanced on-going daily treatment for tooth sensitivity sufferers who seek pain relief.

15. Does Advanced Defence Sensitive have fluoride in it?

Yes. Advanced Defence Sensitive contains 0.05% sodium fluoride.

16. If used straight after brushing, will LISTERINE® Advanced Defence Sensitive wash away the fluoride provided by the toothpaste and decrease the anti-cariogenic capability of the toothpaste?

No. Advanced Defence Sensitive contains sufficient levels of sodium fluoride (0.05%) to sustain the level of fluoride delivered to saliva by regular toothpaste10.

17. Is LISTERINE® Advanced Defence Sensitive Advanced Defence Sensitive mouth rinse alcohol- free?


18. Are you differentiating between NHS and private practice in any way with Advanced Defence Sensitive?

No. All dentists, whether they work in the NHS or private practice or both, are of equal importance in managing patients with sensitivity. LISTERINE® has embarked on robust market research to understand the needs of both private and NHS dentists. Through the research the needs were found to be identical; all dental professionals, irrespective of the setting, want communication on how the product works that is derived from clinical data.

19. Where can Advanced Defence Sensitive be bought?

Although some accounts will have Advanced Defence Sensitive, LISTERINE®’s key focus is to support dental professionals in familiarising themselves with the clinical data and product. Johnson & Johnson is keen to ensure dentists are given ample opportunity to review and recommend the product for their patients. There are professional advertising, patient materials, conference support, digital communication and a dedicated field force to support professionals. There are listings across all major accounts.

20. What will the product cost?

Pricing is at the sole discretion of the retailer, however the recommended retail selling price of the 250ml product is £3.49 and the 500ml is £5.49.


  1. Addy M. Int Dent J. 2002; 52 (suppl 5): 367-375
  2. J Can Dent Assoc 2003; 69(4): 221-6
  3. Gillam DG and Orchardson R. Endodontic Topics 2006; 13: 13-33
  4. Boiko et al. J Clin Periodont 2010; 37: 937-80
  5. Cummins D. J Clin Dent 20 (Spec Iss):1-9, 2009
  6. Dentine Tubule Occlusion, DOF 1-2012.
  7. Relief of Hypersensitivity, DOF 4 – 2012
  8. Combination Tubule Occlusion, DOF 2 – 2012
  9. TNS – Sensitivity Market Research 1 – 2012
  10. Duckworth et al. Caries Research 2009 43: 391-396

* based on percentage hydraulic conductance reduction

NB: Do not recommend this product if patients have a history of kidney disease, hyperoxaluria, kidney stones or malabsorption syndrome, or take high doses of vitamin C (1000mg or more per day).



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