You are currently viewing What Are Desensitizing Toothpaste and How It Works

What Are Desensitizing Toothpaste and How It Works

Woman suffering from dental sensitivity | Source: istock

If you’re one of the many people who wince in pain every time you take a sip of iced tea or a bite of ice cream, you know just how frustrating and uncomfortable tooth sensitivity can be. Sensitive teeth can make everyday activities such as brushing and flossing and uncomfortable experience.

It’s like your teeth are sending out a constant SOS signal, making it difficult for you to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. But the good news is, you don’t have to suffer in silence anymore! Over the years, dentists have worked with toothpaste manufacturers to formulate desensitizing toothpastes that help to alleviate tooth sensitivity.

In the rest of this article, we will explore what desensitizing toothpaste is, how it works, and whether it may be a good option for you. We will also provide recommendations on some of the most popular densitizing toothpaste recommended by dentists worldwide. So, if you’re tired of wincing every time you take a sip of coffee or bite into an ice cream cone, read on to learn more about desensitizing toothpaste and how it can help you.

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity, commonly known as dentin hypersensitivity, is a dental condition where the patient experience pain and discomfort when exposed to a stimuli such as hotness, coldness, spiciness, and acidity. The sensitivity can be temporary or permanent, and range from mild to severe depending on the progression of the condition.

The reasons why people suffer from teeth sensitivity vary, but it usually points down to certain lifestyle habits or health conditions. Some of the common causes include:

  1. Tooth decay or cavities: The tooth enamel is gradually broken down by decay and the formation of cavities, leaving the underlying dentin exposed.
  2. Bruxism (teeth grinding): Grinding your teeth can wear down the tooth enamel, exposing the dentin and making teeth more sensitive.
  3. Gum recession: When the gums recede, the roots of the teeth become exposed. The roots of the teeth do not have a protective layer of enamel and are more sensitive than the crowns of the teeth.
  4. Teeth whitening procedures: Patients who undergo teeth whitening procedures or uses teeth whitening kit can experience temporary tooth sensitivity due to irritation to the gum by the bleaching agent hydrogen peroxide,. However, most teeth sensitivity would go away in under 24 hours.
  5. Worn or fractured fillings: Fillings can wear down or crack over time, leaving the tooth underneath more exposed.
  6. Regular consumption of acidic food and drink: The consumption of acidic food such as citrus fruits and tomatoes can erode the enamel and expose the underlying nerves.

How Desensitizing Toothpastes Works

Desensitizing toothpaste work by blocking or reducing the sensation of tooth sensitivity. This is done primarily through the active ingredient potassium nitrate, which has been shown to be effective in reducing the pain associated with tooth sensitivity.

When the toothpaste is applied to the sensitive area of the tooth, potassium nitrate is able to penetrate through the tooth enamel and reach the dentin layer of the tooth where the dentin tubules are located; these are tiny tubes that lead directly to the dental pulp and are responsible for the sensation in your teeth.

Diagram highlighting dentin tubules | Source: ResearchGate

The potassium nitrate fills up the dentin tubules, decreasing the amount of sensation signals passing from the dental pulp to the brain. This helps to reduce the sharpness of the tooth sensitivity as there are now less sensation signals being transmitted to the brain where it is being felt as pain.

On the other hand, ingredients such as sodium fluoride and stannous floride work to strengthen and restore the enamel. It also covers the exposed dentin tubules, providing a protective layer against cold and hot temperatures. This ultimately leads to a reduction in the sharpness of the tooth sensitivity as the exposed dentin tubules are now shielded against any stimuli such as ice water or hot soup.

It’s important to note that desensitizing toothpastes may take several weeks of application to see an effect. However, if you experience no drop in sensitivity after a prolonged use of desensitizing toothpaste, do consult your local dentist as it may signs of a more serious dental condition.

Best Desensitizing Toothpaste

Some of the best desensitizing toothpaste work to effectively reduce and even eliminate sensitivity issues in your teeth. From all natural ingredients to specially formulated enamels, each product has been evaluated for its ability to provide fast relief from painful sensations caused by sensitive teeth and gums.

1. Colgate Sensitive Toothpaste

Colgate Sensitive Complete Protection toothpaste is made with a special anti-sensitivity formulation that is clinically proven to relief teeth sensitivity and prevent pain due to sensitivity. Furthermore, it has a fresh mint flavor designed to provide long-lasting freshness and to protect you from bad breath.

2. Tom’s of Maine Fluoride-Free Rapid Relief Sensitive Toothpaste

Tom’s of Maine Fluoride-Free Rapid Relief Sensitive Toothpaste contains arginine and calcium carbonate as its active ingredient to relief and prevent teeth sensitivity. The toothpaste has a fresh mint flavor that will leave your breath smelling fresh and good. What’s more, it is free of artificial preservatives, colors, and flavoring, and is cruelty-free.

3. Sensodyne Pronamel Multi-Action SLS Free Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth

Sensodyne Pronamel Multi-Action Toothpaste is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) free and protects your teeth from exposure to acidic food and drink without causing sensitivity. It also contains keyingredients that can help to strengthen the teeth enamel, fight cavities, and freshen the breath.

4. Davids Nano Hydroxyapatite Natural Toothpaste

Davids Nano Hydroxyapatite Natural Toothpaste features nano-hydroxyapatite, a key mineral that makes up 97% of the enamel. This helps to remineralize the enamel and keep the teeth strong and healthy. Additionally, the hydroxyapatite help to reduce and relieve teeth sensitivity. Last but not least, the toothpaste contains micro abrasive agents help to remove surface stains on the enamel, thus achieving a whitening effect.

5. ARM & HAMMER Sensitive Teeth & Gums Toothpaste

ARM & HAMMER Sensitive Teeth & Gums Toothpaste is formulated with 100% pure ARM & HAMMER baking soda that provides deep cleaning throughout your mouth and gum line. Furthermore, it contains FDA-approved ingredients that can help to relieve tooth and sensitivity while strengthening the enamel.

6. Crest Pro-Health Densify Daily Protection Toothpaste

Crest Pro-Health Densify Toothpaste Daily Protection contains two times the usual enamel protection system found on most toothpaste and is designed to remineralize the enamel and prevent demineralization. The toothpaste also contains fluoride that can strengthen the enamel and prevent cavity from forming.

7. Lumineux Teeth Whitening Toothpaste

Lumineux Teeth Whitening Toothpaste is a SLS-free toothpaste that helps to strengthen the enamel and whitening your teeth without causing harm. The toothpaste also contains no alcohol, fluoride, artificial colors, and is certified to be non-toxic. This makes it safe for people who suffer for dentin hypersensitivity.


In conclusion, desensitizing toothpaste is a great option for individuals who suffer from sensitive teeth. These toothpastes are formulated with specific active ingredients that help to block pain and discomfort associated with sensitive teeth.

However, one should note that desensitizing toothpastes merely treats the symptoms and does not address the underlying issue causing sensitivity. Regular dental checkups and proper oral hygiene practices are still necessary to maintain healthy teeth and gums. So, if you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, give desensitizing toothpaste a try, but don’t forget to consult with your dentist to identify the root cause of the problem.

Erinwood Brady

Brady Erinwood is an accomplished dentist operating in New York City. Renowned for his proficient use of state-of-the-art dental technologies, Dr. Erinwood offers both general and cosmetic dental services and is widely lauded for both his dental makeovers as well as his to enhancing the oral health of his community.