Mint’s crisp taste and cooling sensation could leave your teeth feeling refreshed and sparkling clean, but could its strong nature make your tooth sensitivity worse? If you’re worried about mint and its effect on your sensitive teeth, you might be thinking about switching to a mint-free toothpaste. But, even with its bold flavor profile, you’ll be surprised that mint is not the irritant you’d expect it to be.
Is Mint Bad for Sensitive Teeth?
Although mint’s strong smell and refreshing flavor can create a cool sensation that might make you concerned about your sensitive teeth, you’ll be happy to know that there is no evidence that it has an effect on tooth sensitivity. From what we know now, mint won’t make tooth sensitivity worse. But, depending on how sensitive your teeth are, stronger types of mint or mint in excessive amounts could cause some discomfort for sensitive teeth.
While there are no conclusive studies about the effects of mint on sensitive teeth, there are different types of mint and some are known to be stronger than others. If you’re interested in testing out how different types of mint feel on your teeth, try experimenting using toothpaste or chewing gum, which often use mint oil.
TIP: Start with weaker types of mint and work your way up to the stronger varieties to test for sensitivity.
A Few Types of Mint
While the two most common types of mint used in toothpaste are peppermint and spearmint, you can test mint sensitivity with various types of mint, and have a fun tasting while you’re at it!
- Peppermint: The most common variety of mint, most often used in cooking and mint-flavored products like toothpaste. Peppermint has a stronger, more powerful flavor than spearmint, with an almost spicy taste.
- Spearmint: Spearmint shares many of the flavor notes of peppermint but is a much less intense variety. Instead of the strong, sharp taste of peppermint, spearmint offers a fresh and lightly sweet taste that’s sure to please the taste buds.
- Apple mint: Apple mint's fuzzy stems and leaves have given it the nickname "woolly mint," or "fuzzy mint" to some. Apple mint boasts a more mild and sweeter flavor than many other types of mint. This variety is great to use in summer salads, as it is the perfect complement to its namesake, apples.
- Chocolate Mint: If you like chocolate, this mint is for you. Chocolate mint has green leaves, dark brown stems, and an aromatic chocolate scent. This mint is best paired with dessert vanilla ice cream.
FUN FACT: Although commonly grouped in the mint category, wintergreen is not a type of mint, but actually a type of berry. It has a similar flavor profile to mint because it contains an aromatic compound that resembles that of mint.
Even with its strong flavor, mint, especially mint-flavored toothpaste, is not known to cause tooth sensitivity. But, whether you’re a mint lover or just curious about how your teeth feel after eating different types of mint, you can always test it out with a mint sampling of your own. Before you make any decisions, talk to your dentist about what toothpaste is best for your tooth sensitivity.