Tooth sensitivity can be frustrating to live with, especially if you can't get through a meal without wincing. To help alleviate discomfort, you’ll want to use one of the best toothpastes for sensitive teeth. The ones you’ll find on this list are hand-picked by dentists, and they’re
formulated to alleviate discomfort with the help of ingredients like potassium nitrate, sodium fluoride, and hydroxyapatite. Lana Rozenberg, DDS, of Rozenberg Dentistry in New York City says, “The root cause of most tooth sensitivity is the loss of a protective covering around a tooth's dentin, or the material that composes most of the inside of each tooth. Dentin is typically protected by enamel (the outer covering of each tooth), cementum (which protects the tooth root under the gum line), and the gums (which further help protect the root of the tooth), but a number of issues can erode this protective layer.”
So what causes dentin to be exposed? According to
Sharon Huang, DDS, MICOI, of Les Belles NYC Dentistry in New York, anything from brushing teeth too hard to grinding teeth to eating or drinking acidic foods or beverages can be to blame — in fact, tooth sensitivity can even be a symptom of certain medical conditions.
While it's always important to consult with a dentist if you're having serious oral discomfort, there are a number of steps you can take to manage the problem on your own, including
brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush twice a day, remembering to floss, and above all, switching to a better toothpaste. But before you do, you want to make sure you're selecting a new one with care, because they're not all the same.
Dr. Huang says, “If you have sensitive teeth, it is best to use a toothpaste indicated for teeth sensitivity. The key ingredient to look for is potassium nitrate. Potassium nitrate alleviates teeth sensitivity by calming the nerves in the teeth. Other key ingredients to look for
are sodium fluoride and hydroxyapatite, both [of which] work by rebuilding minerals in teeth to make them stronger and helping to prevent cavities.” Dr. Huang also says there is one ingredient to avoid: charcoal. “Charcoal is an abrasive [...] Long term use of a charcoal toothpaste will cause enamel wear and teeth sensitivity.”
With that advice in mind, here are the best toothpastes for sensitive teeth, as recommended by dentists.
1 The Overall Best
When it comes to toothpastes for sensitive teeth, this
Sensodyne option , which is recommended by Dr. Rozenberg, is especially helpful because it’s formulated with potassium nitrate. (Asking yourself, “How does sensitive toothpaste work?” Short answer: It uses potassium nitrate to helps soothe the nerve by blocking the neural transmission in the tooth that causes sensitivity.) Along with sodium nitrate, the formula includes sodium fluoride, which prevents decay and helps fend off cavity-causing bacteria. Plus, unlike some versions of sensitive toothpaste, this highly rated formula leaves your mouth feeling minty and fresh. According to a reviewer: “Great value buying in the multi pack versus purchasing individually in local stores. This mint flavor is my favorite and I love the texture. This brand helps with sensitive teeth and gums and is the only brand I will use.” 2 The Runner-Up Dr. Rob Raimondi of One Manhattan Dental recommends this as the best Colgate toothpaste for patients with sensitive teeth. Like Sensodyne, it’s made with potassium nitrate, an anti-sensitivity active ingredient that penetrates teeth and helps desensitize the nerve. Another benefit of this toothpaste is that it helps protect enamel, which is important for overall oral hygiene, and it also includes sodium fluoride to prevent decay and cavities. According to a reviewer: “Buy this - it has literally taken me from having pain from eating too cold items to being perfectly fine. Mind you - you need to use this long term - not just for a few days. Give it two weeks of constant use twice a day and this will work wonders for you. Also floss!” 3 The Best Natural Toothpaste For Sensitive Teeth
Although most dentists recommend fluoride toothpastes, for those who are looking for a fluoride-free option, Dr. Huang recommends this
all-natural pick for sensitive teeth: “The key ingredients are Dead Sea salt and aloe vera. Dead sea salt contains minerals such as calcium, phosphate, and manganese that bind together on the surfaces of teeth to reduce sensations of sensitivity to hot or cold liquids. Aloe vera is soothing for teeth and gums.” It’s also sodium lauryl sulfate-free, vegan, and formulated without preservatives or sugar. Last but not least, it’s infused with mint, basil, and clove essential oils to leave breath fresh and teeth feeling smooth. According to a reviewer: “I have very sensitive teeth and gums and cannot use most sensitivity toothpaste/mouthwash brands as they irritate my mouth. I've been using the Lumineux Oral Essentials Toothpaste for Sensitivity Relief and the Clean and Fresh mouthwash for close to 2 months now (both are on my Subscribe and Save) and I have noticed a difference in my level of sensitivity and gum irritation. It feels good to be able to brush my teeth and not have the usual stinging, burning and discomfort.” 4 The Best Sensitive Toothpaste With Bonus Soothing Ingredients
Both Dr. Huang and Dr. Rozenberg like the
hello Sensitivity Relief toothpaste, which combines standard dental ingredients with some thoughtfully curated extras that ensure your mouth is getting the care and attention it needs. The potassium nitrate toothpaste calms sensitivity while sodium fluoride and xylitol protect against cavities and decay. Then, the addition of aloe vera and coconut oil work to moisturize and soothe irritation. Last, it’s free of artificial colors and flavors, opting instead for an infusion of natural mint grown in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Yes, it has a higher price point, but if you’re looking to pamper your teeth and mouth, this is your pick. According to a reviewer: “My sensitive teeth were in overdrive. Everything seemed to trigger them. I tried different brands of toothpaste for sensitive teeth but had problems with the skin of my inner cheeks and lips peeling off [...] My dentist said it was probably caused by a reaction to Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS). I was happy to find that Hello was SLS-free. After a few weeks of regular use my sensitivity calmed down. And there was zero peeling from the Hello ingredients. I'm definiely sticking with the brand.” 5 The Best For Whitening
Most dentists agree that teeth-whitening products aren't good for those with sensitive teeth because they contain peroxide, which can be damaging to teeth and wear away at thin enamel. However, if you're still eager to use teeth-whitening products, this
Sensodyne sensitive toothpaste helps brighten teeth while still relieving pain and discomfort. The best part? Dr. Rozenberg approves of this pick, and reviewers have reported that it really does result in a whiter smile, without the tradeoff of sensitivity. According to a reviewer: “I've gone through almost 1 tube of this and really like it. I feel like my teeth are definitely becoming less sensitive and it's slowly whitening them too. I've never been able to do the whitening strips, gels etc due to teeth sensitivity, but had the recommendation to try this instead.” 6 The Best Whitening Toothpaste With Hydrating Benefits
Similar to the Sensodyne whitening pick — but at a slightly cheaper price point — this
Colgate formula can brighten your smile without irritation to sensitive teeth, and it’s recommended by Dr. Rozenberg. The toothpaste includes sodium fluoride and potassium nitrate to maintain oral health and prevent sensitivity, and gradually works to build protection against further sensitivity with regular use. Plus, the toothpaste includes glycerin to hydrate the mouth — a perk some users might find helpful. According to a reviewer: “I’ve tried several different brands and this is the one that has it all for me. It’s good for sensitive gums and the taste is mild not overpowering. A little on the toothbrush goes a long way.” 7 The Best For Sensitive Teeth & Gums
Another recommendation from Dr. Rozenberg, this
Arm & Hammer formula is the best toothpaste for sensitive teeth and gums. The low-abrasion formula is made with baking soda, and it neutralizes acids before they get a chance to damage teeth. Plus, it penetrates the gum line and the area between the teeth, removing plaque in hard-to-reach places. Potassium nitrate helps reduce sensitivity while sodium fluoride provides cavity and decay protection. According to a reviewer: “I used it for a couple weeks and noticed a considerable difference it the sensitivity of my teeth. I can now eat ice cream without cringing and I am no longer having to brush my teeth with warm water. I am pretty sure that my teeth whitened a couple shades as well. The texture is what I really like about this toothpaste. It really feels like there are tiny little beads scrubbing stains off my teeth.” Experts: Lana Rozenberg, DDS, of Rozenberg Dentistry in New York City Sharon Huang, DDS, MICOI, of Les Belles NYC Dentistry in New York Dr. Rob Raimondi of One Manhattan Dental
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This article was originally published on
Oct. 23, 2017