Discover the best toothpaste for sensitive teeth! Learn about dentist-recommended options to ease discomfort and enhance your oral health.

Toothpaste For Sensitive Teeth

Many people have sensitive teeth, with around one in eight U.S. adults experiencing this issue, as highlighted in a 2013 study. On average, these people have 3.5 hypersensitive teeth. Sensitive teeth can manifest differently in severity; some may feel mild pain when eating ice cream, while others experience more intense discomfort, according to the Oral Health Foundation. Interestingly, women and individuals aged 20 to 40 are more prone to sensitive teeth, attributed to increased blood flow to the gums due to female hormones, as noted by the American Dental Association.

The causes of sensitive teeth vary, explained by Dr. Eunjung Jo, a dentist at Astor Smile Dental in New York City. Worn tooth enamel and gum recession are common culprits, but other factors like cavities, cracked or chipped teeth, worn fillings, or gum disease can also contribute. Regular dental checkups are crucial for maintaining good oral health and addressing these issues.

Thankfully, there are ways to alleviate tooth sensitivity, both at the dentist and at home. Choosing the right toothpaste is one such method. Key ingredients to look for are potassium nitrate and stannous fluoride. Toothpaste with potassium nitrate calms the nerves inside teeth, preventing them from signaling pain in response to triggers like cold air or hot drinks. On the other hand, toothpaste with stannous fluoride acts as a protective shield for the inner part of the tooth (dentin), preventing pain-causing agents like cold beverages from reaching the nerves and causing discomfort.

What is Teeth Sensitivity?

Sensitive teeth means that your teeth hurt or feel uncomfortable when you do certain things. These things could include eating hot or cold foods, sweets, or drinks, and even just breathing in air. When your teeth are sensitive, you might feel a quick, sharp pain that does not last long. This happens because the outer layer of your teeth, called enamel, is not protecting them well enough. Under the enamel is another layer called dentin, which has tiny tubes that connect to the nerves in the middle of your teeth. When dentin is exposed, things like hot or cold can reach the nerves and cause pain.

Common Reasons For Sensitive Teeth

  1. Worn Tooth Enamel: If you brush too hard, use abrasive toothpaste, or grind your teeth, the enamel can wear away.
  2. Gum Recession: When your gums pull back, the roots of your teeth can be exposed, making them more sensitive.
  3. Tooth Decay: Holes in your teeth from cavities can uncover the sensitive dentin layer.
  4. Cracks or Chips: If your teeth get damaged, the inner layers may be exposed, causing sensitivity.
  5. Worn Fillings: Old fillings that are not in good shape can make your teeth sensitive.

Luckily, there are ways to deal with sensitive teeth. Your dentist might suggest special toothpaste, treatments to make your enamel stronger, or other solutions based on what’s causing the sensitivity.

7 Best Toothpastes for Sensitive Teeth

In the article below, you will discover seven recommended toothpaste options specifically designed to help people with sensitive teeth.

1. Sensodyne Full Protection Whitening Sensitive Toothpaste

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Why We Like It: This toothpaste stands out for containing potassium nitrate, a natural compound known for desensitizing dental nerves, providing relief for sensitive teeth.

It’s Worth Noting: While it offers anti-sensitivity benefits, it also includes a whitening agent. It’s important to be aware that the whitening component may offset some of the toothpaste’s sensitivity-focused advantages.

Sensodyne holds the top spot as the most recommended toothpaste for sensitive teeth among dentists, and for good reason—it is effective and endorsed by experts. Dr. Kristen Klement Oldham, a dentist from Klement Family Dental in St. Petersburg, Florida, attests to Sensodyne’s reliability. She emphasizes that Sensodyne’s entire product line is crafted with sensitivity in mind, making any Sensodyne toothpaste a solid choice for treating sensitive teeth.

Dr. Asharie Campbell, a dentist at Circle City Dentists of Sebring in Sebring, Florida, also praises Sensodyne. She appreciates the flexibility the brand offers, allowing users to refine their choices with modifiers like whitening, fresh breath, gum health, and tartar control. Her go-to recommendation is Sensodyne Full Protection, citing its potent active ingredient—5 percent potassium nitrate, one of the most effective components in toothpaste for sensitive teeth.

Notably, not all Sensodyne toothpastes have the same active ingredients. The featured toothpaste contains the maximum allowable amount of potassium nitrate, which has been proven to significantly reduce tooth sensitivity. In addition to its sensitivity-fighting properties, this toothpaste includes sodium fluoride to guard against cavities. However, individuals with severely sensitive teeth may choose to avoid whitening toothpaste options.

Product Details:

  • Flavor: Mint
  • Size: 4 oz
  • Key Ingredients: Potassium nitrate, sodium fluoride

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2. Arm & Hammer Sensitive Teeth & Gums Toothpaste

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Why We Like It: This toothpaste earns our approval for featuring the same active ingredients as our top pick but at a more affordable price point.

It’s Worth Noting: While less abrasive than some alternatives, the inclusion of baking soda in this toothpaste adds a mild abrasive element. While baking soda is recognized for its teeth-whitening properties, excessive use may contribute to enamel wear.

Toothpastes tailored for sensitive teeth often come with a higher price tag compared to regular options. Opting for Arm & Hammer’s offering can save you some money without sacrificing anti-sensitivity benefits, as it shares the same active ingredients as our top choice from Sensodyne—potassium nitrate for sensitivity reduction and sodium fluoride for cavity protection. Additionally, the larger tube size enhances its overall value. Dr. Jessica Pharar, a dentist in Las Vegas, recommends this toothpaste to patients dealing with sensitive teeth who are also interested in a whitening option. She commends its effectiveness and notes its gentle nature on sensitive teeth.

True to Arm & Hammer’s reputation, this toothpaste incorporates baking soda, known for its teeth-whitening properties. A 2017 review in The Journal of the American Dental Association supports baking soda’s stain removal and teeth-whitening capabilities, highlighting its comparatively lower abrasiveness. However, you should be mindful of its abrasive nature, as excessive use could potentially contribute to enamel wear.

Product Details:

  • Flavor: Refreshing mint
  • Size: 4.5 oz
  • Key Ingredients: Potassium nitrate, sodium fluoride

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3. Sensodyne Sensitivity & Gum Whitening Toothpaste

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Why We Like It: This toothpaste is great because, aside from making your teeth less sensitive and brightening stains, it also helps keep your gums healthy—the foundation of many dental issues.

It’s Worth Noting: Keep in mind that this toothpaste comes in a smaller tube, so it might not last as long as some other options.

Taking care of your gums is crucial for preventing dental issues, including sensitivity, according to Dr. Campbell. She recommends this toothpaste not only for reducing sensitivity but also for minimizing the risk of developing gingivitis and gum disease, which can worsen sensitivity over time. Some instances of sensitive teeth are linked to gum-related problems. Gum recession and gum disease can contribute to hypersensitivity by causing the gum line to recede, exposing the roots of teeth that contain nerves. This exposure can lead to sensitivity or pain, especially with stimuli like hot or cold foods, as noted by the Cleveland Clinic.

To address these concerns, it’s essential to prioritize gum care, and the right toothpaste can make a difference. This toothpaste’s main ingredient is stannous fluoride, known to protect against gingivitis, cavities, and stains, as indicated in a 2019 review. Moreover, it forms a protective coating on the teeth, reducing hypersensitivity, as highlighted in a 2019 clinical study. It is like getting a four-in-one benefit!

Product Details:

  • Flavor: Mint
  • Size: 3.4 oz
  • Key Ingredients: Stannous fluoride

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4. Tom’s of Maine Natural Rapid Relief Sensitive Toothpaste

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Why We Like It: This toothpaste is great because it eases sensitivity by covering the dentin with natural ingredients like arginine and calcium carbonate.

It’s Worth Noting: Keep in mind that this toothpaste is a bit pricier, costing around $10 per tube, making it one of the more expensive options on our list.

Unlike regular toothpaste that may have natural fluoride but also contains some questionable inactive ingredients like artificial dyes and flavorings, Tom’s of Maine takes a simpler approach. Their toothpaste uses naturally derived ingredients, such as peppermint oil for flavor and freshness.

The unique feature of this toothpaste is that it doesn’t contain traditional fluoride. Instead, it relies on arginine and calcium carbonate, both natural, to effectively reduce dentin hypersensitivity, as shown in a 2018 clinical study. These ingredients work by sealing off dentin tubules, which are responsible for the sensation of sensitivity and pain when exposed, as per earlier research.

However, it’s important to note that natural products often come with a higher price tag, and this toothpaste is no exception. While you may pay more for a toothpaste targeting sensitive teeth, this one is on the pricier side.

Product Details:

  • Flavor: Fresh mint
  • Size: 4 oz
  • Key Ingredients: Arginine, calcium carbonate

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5. Colgate Sensitive Prevent & Repair Toothpaste

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Why We Like It: This toothpaste stands out because each tube contains 6 ounces, and with three tubes in a pack, it offers great value.

It’s Worth Noting: Some user reviews mention a taste that might be either loved or disliked.

For those dealing with severe sensitivity, Dr. Campbell suggests giving Colgate’s Sensitive Prevent & Repair Toothpaste a try. She emphasizes that if other products haven’t provided sufficient relief, this toothpaste, containing the highest allowed levels of potassium nitrate at 5 percent, is worth considering. Potassium nitrate is a key ingredient providing robust protection against sensitive teeth, and the inclusion of fluoride contributes to its effectiveness.

This toothpaste focuses on maintaining enamel health, a crucial aspect of oral well-being. Dental enamel, the body’s toughest tissue, forms a thermal layer around the tooth’s root, helping prevent thermal sensitivity from hot and cold foods, as outlined in a 2017 review. When this layer wears down, the dentin underneath becomes exposed, leading to sensitivity. Using a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth, like Colgate’s, with added fluoride helps prevent sensitivity from worsening by safeguarding tooth enamel. Fluoride can also aid in repairing weakened parts of the enamel layer through a process known as remineralization, supported by studies.

Product Details:

  • Flavor: Gentle mint
  • Size: 6 oz
  • Key Ingredients: Potassium nitrate, sodium fluoride

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6. Sensodyne Pronamel Fresh Breath

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Why We Like It: This toothpaste earns our approval because it not only freshens breath but also protects enamel and reduces sensitivity.

It’s Worth Noting: Some people may not prefer it because it’s sweetened with sorbitol.

Sensodyne’s Pronamel line, like the Pronamel Fresh Breath, specifically addresses hypersensitivity while strengthening enamel—a crucial step in preventing sensitivity from developing or getting worse over time. Dr. Oldham emphasizes the importance of giving extra care to enamel if you have sensitive teeth. According to her, Sensodyne Pronamel Fresh Breath achieves this without abrasive properties, keeping sensitivity in mind. Additionally, it boasts a pleasant taste, as highlighted by Dr. Oldham.

How does it work? It combines the power of fluoride and a substantial dose of potassium nitrate. Fluoride focuses on protecting and remineralizing enamel, while potassium nitrate works to minimize painful sensitivity. The result is resilient, sturdy teeth that are less sensitive to temperature changes. Beyond sensitivity reduction, it also combats cavities and bad breath, making it an all-around effective toothpaste.

Product Details:

  • Flavor: Fresh breath
  • Size: 4 oz
  • Key Ingredients: Potassium nitrate, sodium fluoride

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7. Davids Sensitive Whitening nano-Hydroxyapatite Toothpaste

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Why We Like It: This toothpaste earns our appreciation because it includes a tube roller, ensuring you can squeeze out every last drop.

It’s Worth Noting: This toothpaste doesn’t come cheap.

For those seeking a natural and fluoride-free option for sensitive teeth, this toothpaste is a reliable choice. While it may be on the pricier side, it is carefully crafted to alleviate sensitivity without relying on traditional ingredients. Instead of the expected potassium nitrate and fluoride, its anti-sensitivity properties are attributed to hydroxyapatite—a mineral with numerous dental benefits. In a 2019 meta-analysis, researchers concluded that toothpaste formulated with hydroxyapatite may be the most effective at desensitizing sensitive teeth. This mineral is naturally found in bones and teeth, showcasing significant remineralizing effects, as supported by research.

Alongside hydroxyapatite, the toothpaste contains other beneficial ingredients. Calcium carbonate helps polish enamel, baking soda aids in whitening, and xylitol offers protection against cavities. While fluoride is the standard for cavity prevention, xylitol serves as an effective alternative for those seeking a fluoride-free option. According to the California Dental Association, xylitol inhibits the growth of cavity-causing bacteria, reducing the likelihood of decay-causing bacteria surviving on the tooth’s surface. However, it’s important to note that more research is needed in this regard.

Product Details:

  • Flavor: Peppermint
  • Size: 5.25 oz
  • Key Ingredients: Hydroxyapatite

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What to Know About Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth?

When to Use Sensitive Teeth Toothpaste:

If you experience discomfort or pain in your teeth, especially when exposed to temperature changes, you might have sensitive teeth. Before using a toothpaste for sensitive teeth, Dr. Pharar suggests consulting your dentist to rule out any underlying issues. Once other problems are addressed, switching to a toothpaste for sensitive teeth may be beneficial. Sensitive teeth indicate changes in your mouth, according to Dr. Pharar. Enamel, the outer part of your teeth, protects the inner part called dentin. When enamel is damaged, dentin is exposed, and its pores reach the tooth’s nerves. These nerves interpret hot or cold temperatures as pain.

If sensitivity persists, Dr. Campbell advises a dental visit. She emphasizes seeking professional help if sensitivity affects your daily life, sleep, or eating habits.

Ingredients to Look for:

To reduce sensitive teeth, consider toothpaste with these dentist-recommended ingredients:

  • Potassium nitrate
  • Sodium fluoride
  • Stannous fluoride
  • Hydroxyapatite
  • Arginine
  • Calcium carbonate

Potassium nitrate is highly recommended. It restores enamel, filling areas affected by erosion and protecting sensitive dentin. This creates a barrier against temperature-related shocks.

Ingredients You May Want to Avoid:

Watch out for abrasive and whitening ingredients, especially if you have sensitivity. Whitening toothpastes can be abrasive, irritating exposed dentin pores, according to Dr. Pharar. Whitening treatments may increase sensitivity, and the same applies to whitening agents in toothpaste. Some toothpaste for sensitive teeth includes whitening properties, and individuals with severe sensitivity might opt for alternatives. Abrasive ingredients in toothpaste can worsen enamel issues and accelerate sensitivity, warns Dr. Oldham. If you have sensitive teeth, choose a low-abrasive toothpaste.

Read Also:

How To Treat Infection Around Dental Implant?

How Long Can You Leave A Cavity Untreated?

What To Do Before Applying Toothpaste To Sensitive Teeth?

According to the American Dental Association, a helpful step before using toothpaste for sensitive teeth is to incorporate a water flosser into your oral care routine. Water flossers are effective at removing plaque and bacteria from your teeth and gums, offering a gentler alternative to traditional string floss.

If you have sensitive teeth, it’s recommended to choose a water flosser with a gentle setting, such as the one from B. Weiss. Additionally, it is advised to avoid using toothpaste that contains fluoride, as this ingredient can potentially exacerbate tooth sensitivity.

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