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The Best Toothpaste For Sensitive Teeth: What's In It?

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

If your favourite ice cream or hot coffee causes you to wince in pain, you likely suffer from sensitive teeth. Teeth become sensitive when the pulp of the teeth has little to no protection from temperature changes in the mouth, typically brought on by certain foods. While brushing with the right toothpaste makes your teeth healthier over the long term,a toothpaste for sensitive teeth can relieve your discomfort within two weeks of regular use. Read on to understand the importance of addressing tooth sensitivity, how sensitivity toothpaste works, and how to choose the best option for your needs.

Why Do Tooth Sensitivity Matters?

Dentin hypersensitivity, commonly known as tooth sensitivity, can be a minor inconvenience, but it may sometimes significantly impact your oral health. Understanding why tooth sensitivity matters is crucial for effectively managing and preventing it. Tooth sensitivity can cause discomfort and pain during everyday activities such as eating, drinking, and brushing your teeth. The pain can be sharp, and sudden and shoot deep into the nerve endings of the teeth, making even simple tasks unpleasant and unbearable for some individuals.

When you experience tooth sensitivity, it is often a sign that the protective enamel on your teeth has worn down or that your gums have receded, exposing the sensitive inner layers of your teeth. However, using sensitive toothpaste regularly and practising proper dental care can manage tooth sensitivity without any hassle.

Safeguarding Your Teeth Against Sensitivity

While sensitivity may arise due to enamel erosion or gum recession, practising proper oral care strategies can help mitigate its effects and promote long-term dental health. Here are some of the various approaches that you can take to safeguard your teeth against sensitivity:

  • Proper Oral Hygiene:
    Regular brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush helps maintain oral health and prevents gum recession and enamel erosion, which can lead to sensitivity.
  • Regular Dental Check-ups:
    Scheduled visits to the dentist allow for early detection and treatment of dental issues that may contribute to sensitivity, such as cavities, gum disease, or enamel erosion.
  • Avoid Acidic Foods and Beverages:
    Limiting consumption of acidic foods and beverages such as citrus fruits, soda, and vinegar can help prevent enamel erosion, which can lead to tooth sensitivity.
  • Desensitising Toothpaste:
    Using toothpaste formulated with active ingredients like potassium nitrate can effectively manage and reduce tooth sensitivity to external stimuli like hot, cold, or acidic foods and beverages.

How Does Sensitivity Toothpaste Work?

Specially formulated toothpaste for sensitive teeth and gums can effectively reduce sensitivity, often yielding noticeable results within a few days of use for most individuals. However, for some to see significant improvement, it may take at least a week or two.

Sensitive toothpaste contains unique ingredients designed to alleviate tooth sensitivity by blocking the dentinal tubules. Many toothpaste brands have produced anti-sensitivity toothpaste to help ease the pain of sensitive teeth. For optimal results, brushing the teeth twice daily with the best toothpaste for sensitivity is recommended. Additionally, rubbing toothpaste directly on sensitive areas may enhance its efficiency and provide better and faster results. While relief may vary, with some experiencing relief within days and others within weeks, consistent use is vital to maximising its benefits.

How to Choose a Sensitivity Toothpaste

Choosing the right toothpaste for sensitive teeth is crucial for managing tooth sensitivity and maintaining dental health. Toothpaste formulated with sensitivity protection can reduce discomfort when consuming hot or cold foods and drinks. Several factors must be considered when selecting a toothpaste for sensitivity to ensure optimal relief and protection. Below are some other factors to consider when choosing the best sensitive toothpaste.

Potassium Nitrate

Potassium nitrate is a unique compound that is present in toothpaste for sensitive teeth. According to the Indian Dental Association, it helps to alleviate discomfort caused by sensitivity by desensitising the nerve endings in the teeth. This compound has the ability to seep into the surface of the enamel of your teeth, reaching the nerves inside. It then blocks the signals that the nerves in your teeth usually send to the brain to trigger discomfort.

Opting for a sensitivity relief toothpaste with potassium nitrate like Colgate Sensitive Everyday Protection can provide faster relief from sensitivity within 2 weeks when used twice daily. With regular use, it provides long-term relief and improves protection against sudden shocks of pain. Colgate Sensitive Everyday Protection soothes the nerve ends and builds a protective shield providing relief from sensitivity.

Enamel Strengtheners

The best toothpaste for sensitive teeth not only helps reduce tooth sensitivity but also strengthens the enamel. It contains ingredients like fluoride and calcium compounds that protect and strengthen the enamel. While some people have thin tooth enamel naturally, for some, the enamel may erode or break down, which makes the nerves in the pulp vulnerable to sensitivity.

Some causes of eroded or broken-down enamel include decay, brushing aggressively, using a hard-bristled toothbrush, consuming highly acidic foods or beverages, tooth-grinding at night, receding gums, and even some dental procedures such as teeth whitening (bleaching), though this effect is temporary. Depending on the cause of your sensitivity, brushing regularly with a toothpaste that is gentle on sensitive teeth might be all the treatment you need. However, for more severe sensitivity, a dentist can recommend additional treatments like desensitising gels, fluoride varnishes, or addressing the underlying cause (e.g., treating receding gums).


Toothpaste for sensitive teeth usually contains fluoride, and although this well-known ingredient does not block the pain, it does help strengthen the enamel of the teeth. Fluoride, particularly sodium fluoride, is a key component in toothpaste and mouthwash formulations. It makes teeth more resistant to acids produced by plaque bacteria and reduces the risk of tooth decay. This ingredient also helps to reduce the risk of cavities.

Some toothpaste brands made for sensitive teeth have higher levels of fluoride than regular toothpaste and may, therefore, be more helpful depending on the level of sensitivity. In addition to using toothpaste that contains fluoride, consider having your dentist apply fluoride gels or varnishes to your teeth during your dental checkup to strengthen your enamel further.

Caring for Sensitive Teeth

While various toothpaste options in the market address specific dental needs like sensitivity, teeth whitening, bad breath, gum problems, and removal of plaque buildup, maintaining overall dental health is vital. For individuals with sensitive teeth, specialised toothpaste formulations like Colgate Sensitive Plus can offer pain relief and protection from the very first use. Its clinically proven formula, fortified with Pro-Argin Technology, provides instant and long-lasting relief from tooth sensitivity when brushed twice daily.

It is worth noting that while some toothpaste may offer deep cleaning and complete protection for your mouth, it is crucial to seek advice from a healthcare professional for appropriate sensitivity treatment. Regular dental checkups are vital in maintaining healthy teeth and gums, regardless of the toothpaste you use. Consultation with a dental expert can help you get rapid relief from sensitivity by identifying and treating its root cause.

To conclude, addressing tooth sensitivity is essential for maintaining your oral health. Utilising toothpaste for sensitive teeth containing active ingredients like potassium nitrate or fluoride provides fast relief and long-term protection against pain by managing sensitivity and strengthening enamel. Regular dental check-ups are also crucial for personalised advice and treatment for sensitivity. By implementing these strategies, you can effectively manage sensitivity and maintain optimal oral health.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can toothpaste stop sensitive teeth?
    Toothpaste for sensitive teeth can help relieve sensitivity by blocking pain signals and strengthening enamel over time. While it may not completely stop sensitive teeth, regular use of sensitive toothpaste can significantly reduce discomfort and improve overall dental health.
  2. Is it okay to use sensitive toothpaste everyday?
    Yes, it is generally okay to use sensitive teeth toothpaste every day as part of your oral hygiene routine. Toothpaste for sensitive teeth is designed to be gentle on teeth and can help manage tooth sensitivity effectively when used regularly. However, it is essential to follow the instructions on the toothpaste packaging and consult with a dentist if you have any concerns about using it daily.
  3. Should I use toothpaste for sensitive teeth?
    If you frequently experience discomfort or pain when consuming hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and beverages, using the best toothpaste for sensitive teeth may help alleviate these symptoms. However, it is essential to consult with your dentist to determine the underlying cause of your tooth sensitivity and to discuss the best treatment options for your specific situation.
  4. Why are my teeth so sensitive?
    Teeth sensitivity can arise from various factors like enamel erosion, exposed tooth roots, gum recession, tooth decay, teeth grinding, dental procedures, or cracked teeth. Consult your dentist to identify the root cause and to receive proper treatment.