Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth: Does It Make a Difference?

TeamGeneral Dentistry, Oral Health

Can toothpaste for sensitive teeth really help to relieve those sudden jolts of pain that you may experience throughout your day? Yes – and that’s not all. It can also build an extra layer of protection on your teeth to prevent the pain from happening in the first place. Here’s why tooth sensitivity happens and how special toothpaste can help.


Causes and Symptoms of Sensitive Teeth

If you’re suffering with sensitive teeth, then you probably know the telltale signs. Maybe you’re sipping your morning cup of coffee or eating a dish of ice cream and suddenly, ouch! You feel a sharp twinge of pain that may come and go. But why does it happen?


Sensitivity can develop over time as the enamel on your teeth starts to wear away. Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body and acts like armor for your teeth, protecting them from damage. Over time, holes can develop in the enamel and reveal the dentin underneath. Dentin is more sensitive, especially when it comes into contact with certain foods and drinks.


Often, tooth sensitivity can result in sharp pain at different times, such as:


  • When eating or drinking something hot, cold, or sweet
  • While brushing or flossing your teeth
  • When breathing in cold air


How Special Toothpaste Works

So, how exactly can your toothpaste help with this problem? Certain toothpastes created for sensitive teeth, like Sensodyne, can perform double-duty to help relieve pain.


  • First, an ingredient called potassium nitrate can help calm the reaction of nerves inside your teeth. This can provide relief from those sharp jolts of pain.
  • Additionally, a mineral called stannous fluoride can help build a protective layer over the dentin and help prevent sensitivity from happening at all. This can be achieved by using sensitive toothpaste regularly, twice a day.


You may start noticing a difference right away, or sometimes it may take several days or a couple of weeks. It’s recommended that you continue using sensitive toothpaste in order to keep feeling the benefits. Along with brushing, just rubbing some of the toothpaste on sensitive areas of your gums may also provide relief.


More Tips to Prevent Sensitive Teeth

Along with the toothpaste you choose, there are other steps you can take to help prevent tooth sensitivity.


  • Use a soft-bristled brush and brush in small circular motions (not side to side). Remember not to brush too hard because this can wear away the enamel and cause the gums to recede, exposing the roots of your teeth, which are more sensitive.
  • Replace your toothbrush when the bristles start to look matted or frayed, or every few months – whichever is sooner. Worn-out bristles can put extra wear and tear on your gums. Also, bacteria can build up in your toothbrush, so replacing it occasionally is important.
  • If you grind your teeth, this can contribute to tooth sensitivity. Talk with your dentist about wearing a mouthguard at night to prevent damage to your teeth.


Remember that certain steps you take at home – including using special toothpaste – can help with tooth sensitivity. However, these things can’t solve pain from cavities, cracked teeth, infections, and certain other dental issues. Those and other conditions need specialized care from your dentist. Keeping up with your regular dental cleanings can help you stay on track with your dental health.

Learn More About Sensitive Teeth

If you’d like to learn more about how to manage your sensitive teeth and protect against problems like enamel erosion, contact us today at 240-813-9111 to speak with one of our dentists.