There are several toothpastes available for people with sensitive teeth.
If your sensitivity comes from exposed roots, a toothpaste for sensitive teeth may be an excellent treatment for you.
There are two formulations of toothpastes that treat sensitive teeth. Sensodyne was the original toothpaste for treating sensitive teeth, and the active ingredient in that original formula was strontium chloride.
How strontium chloride helps tooth sensitivity
When your roots are exposed, you may have open pores in your tooth dentin that lead straight to the pulp of your tooth. Merely touching this surface can provoke pain. Cold or air can also cause pain. Strontium chloride, the ingredient in Sensodyne original formula, plugs these pores or tubules. Repeated use builds up a stronger barrier, and your sensitivity should gradually improve over a period of weeks. We have additional pages on this site that give more information about toothaches in general, tooth pain from cold and tooth pain from air.
Potassium nitrate and tooth sensitivity
Later on, a potassium nitrate toothpaste formula was introduced, which is also very effective in treating tooth sensitivity. It appears that the potassium works by calming the nerve of the tooth, which prevents the transmitting of painful stimuli.
If you try one formula and it doesn’t work, it may help to try the other formula.
Sensodyne was the first toothpaste developed for sensitive teeth. Then Denquel was introduced as a competing brand, with the alternate potassium nitrate formula. After that, Sensodyne introduced a potassium nitrate formula version. Now there are several brands available with both of these formulas, and they all appear to work well. Look for the potassium nitrate or strontium chloride in the ingredients, and if it has one of those ingredients, it should work well.
Click here to read about the claims of whitening toothpastes.
—Dr. David Hall