The 7 Best Toothpastes for Sensitive Teeth, According To Dentists

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best toothpastes for sensitive teeth
By Shayna Murphy and The Commerce Team
Originally Published: 

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.


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: “This Sensodyne toothpaste is really great! I got it for my sensitive teeth and it has worked wonders! It has a great flavor and rinses off nicely.”


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!”


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: “Other whitening toothpastes & white strips always make my teeth uncomfortably sensitive. This toothpaste is a great solution- whitening without sensitivity. It doesn't work as quickly as other whitening products, but it's worth it to not have to suffer through sensitivity just to have white teeth!! I love the flavor, it's fresh & minty without being too strong.”


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 realllly sensitive teeth and have been using this toothpaste for 2 weeks and already the sensitivity is getting better. The flavor is subtle and this toothpaste doesn't really foam up as much as drugstore brands but still leaves your teeth feeling clean.”


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: “I have extremely sensitive teeth (so much so, it’s surprised my dentist). It’s had gotten to the point where even brushing my teeth hurt. I’ve been using this for about a month now, and it’s worked wonders! My teeth aren’t nearly as sensitive As they were before. Not to mention, the tube is so pretty!”


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: “Best sensitive toothpaste! It leaves my mouth feeling clean and fresh. It helps with pain from painful teeth. I have one that needs a root canal and it helps a lot with the pain from that one. The taste isn't that great and takes a couple brushes to get used to, but it is definitely worth it.”


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: “Whitens and provides relief for sensitive teeth. My go to favorite toothpaste!”