Find the Best Toothpaste for YouBy: Joyce Kahng, DDS •March 31, 2023
Tooth sensitivity can range from a minor irritant to a serious red flag that something is wrong with your teeth. In most cases, sensitive teeth are non-concerning. One of the best ways to manage them is by using a toothpaste that’s specially formulated for tooth sensitivity. But before you try to treat sensitive teeth on your own, it’s important to understand the causes behind it.
There are many reasons why someone might experience tooth sensitivity, but four of the most common causes are enamel erosion, tooth decay, teeth whitening, and gum recession.
Enamel erosion happens when the hard outer layer of your teeth wears away, exposing the sensitive dentin layer underneath. This can be caused by a variety of factors, such as brushing your teeth too hard, consuming acidic foods and drinks, or grinding your teeth together whenever you sleep. The thinner or more worn out your enamel gets, the more likely your teeth are to be sensitive.
Tooth decay—or cavities—can also make your teeth sensitive, particularly to sweet foods or drinks. Most of the time, this type of tooth sensitivity is localized to a specific tooth in your mouth and flares up whenever you’re eating or drinking. Sensitivity caused by cavities cannot be managed by toothpaste and requires professional treatment from your dentist.
Whitening products like teeth bleaching gels, strips, and toothpaste can also cause tooth sensitivity. The more often you whiten or the stronger the gel is, the more likely you are to experience sensitive side effects.
Gum recession can also cause tooth sensitivity. Recession occurs when the gums around your teeth start to pull away, exposing the roots of your teeth. This can happen due to gum disease, aggressive orthodontic treatment, having misaligned teeth, or even brushing your teeth too hard. When the roots are exposed, they become sensitive to cold temperatures and stimuli, which can cause discomfort when eating or drinking, or just brushing your teeth.
While this is by no means a conclusive list of best toothpaste brands for sensitive teeth, here are some of my top picks that I personally recommend to patients:
Sensodyne is a popular toothpaste brand specifically designed for people with sensitive teeth. It contains potassium nitrate, which helps to block nerve signals that cause pain or discomfort in response to hot, cold, sweet, or sour foods and drinks. Sensodyne is available in a range of flavors and varieties, including Pronamel, which is designed to strengthen tooth enamel.
Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief Toothpaste is formulated to provide instant relief from tooth sensitivity by blocking pain signals at the source. It contains an amino acid that helps to plug exposed pores on your teeth and creates a protective barrier over the sensitive areas of your tooth surfaces. Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief also contains fluoride to help strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities.
Crest Sensitivity Toothpaste is another option for those with sensitive teeth. It contains stannous fluoride, which helps to protect against tooth decay and the build-up of plaque. Crest Sensitivity also contains potassium nitrate to help alleviate pain and discomfort associated with sensitivity. This toothpaste is available in a variety of flavors and formulations, including whitening and gum care.
Tom’s of Maine Sensitive Toothpaste is a natural option for those who prefer fluoride-free toothpaste. It contains potassium nitrate to help soothe tooth sensitivity and prevent cavities. Tom’s of Maine Sensitive toothpaste is also free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives and is available in various flavors, including peppermint, spearmint, and fennel.
Arm & Hammer Sensitive Toothpaste is designed to provide relief from tooth sensitivity while also helping to whiten teeth. It contains baking soda to help remove surface stains and deep clean teeth, as well as potassium nitrate to alleviate sensitivity. Arm & Hammer Sensitive toothpaste is also fluoride-free and contains no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners.
Aquafresh Sensitive Toothpaste is a popular brand that uses a triple protection formula to provide relief from sensitivity, prevent cavities, and freshen breath. It contains potassium nitrate to help soothe sensitive teeth, as well as fluoride to help strengthen tooth enamel. Aquafresh Sensitive toothpaste is available in a range of flavors, including mint, citrus, and bubble gum.
Pronamel Gentle Whitening Toothpaste is designed to help protect against acid erosion, which can weaken tooth enamel and cause sensitivity. It contains fluoride to help strengthen tooth enamel, as well as gentle whitening agents to help remove surface stains. Pronamel Gentle Whitening toothpaste is available in a variety of flavors, including fresh wave and clean mint.
Biotene Dry Mouth Toothpaste is formulated specifically for people with dry mouths, which can lead to tooth decay and sensitivity. It contains a combination of enzymes and fluoride to help strengthen teeth and protect against cavities, as well as xylitol to help stimulate saliva production. Biotene Dry Mouth Toothpaste is available in a mild mint flavor and is free from sodium lauryl sulfate, a foaming agent that can irritate sensitive mouths.
Orajel Severe Toothpaste is designed to provide immediate relief from severe tooth pain caused by sensitive teeth or toothaches. It contains benzocaine, a numbing agent that helps to block pain signals in the nerves. Orajel Severe Toothpaste is not recommended for long-term use and should only be used as directed.
Parodontax Clean Mint Toothpaste is designed to help prevent bleeding gums, gum disease, and tooth sensitivity. It contains stannous fluoride to help protect against cavities and strengthen tooth enamel, as well as natural herbs and minerals to help remove plaque and promote healthy gums. Parodontax Clean Mint toothpaste is available in a refreshing mint flavor.
If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, it’s important to talk to your dentist to determine the root cause of your symptoms. They may be able to recommend treatments such as desensitizing toothpaste, fluoride treatments, or dental procedures to help alleviate your discomfort. Don’t let tooth sensitivity keep you from enjoying your favorite foods and drinks. Take care of your teeth and talk to your dentist if you have any concerns about sensitivity.
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