Toothpastes for sensitive teeth

I remember many years ago, when if you had sensitive teeth you bought yourself some Sensodyne toothpaste. It was as simple as that. A quick check of the Sensodyne website shows there are now no less than 17 toothpastes in their range! Not only that but many other brands have branched out into the market for toothpastes to treat tooth sensitivity, using a variety of active ingredients which work in different ways. Some work instantly. Others may take a couple of weeks for you to feel the benefit, but the result may be superior and longer lasting. To get behind the marketing fluff, here I’ll take a look at the most common active ingredients:

Potassium nitrate

This is the ingredient contained in the original Sensodyne. The potassium ions block the synapse between nerve cells reducing cell excitation. It will take a good couple of weeks of use to feel the benefit. This can be found in Sensodyne Pronamel.

Stannous fluoride

This works by means of the stannous fluoride particles being of the correct size to block the openings to dentine tubles and therefore has an instant but short lasting effect. This can be found in Sensodyne Rapid Relief and Oral-B Gum and Enamel Repair.

Calcium sodium phosphosilicate (NOVAMIN)

This compound adheres to the dentine surface and reacts to form a mineralised layer. This can be found in Sensodyne Repair and Protect


Research is suggesting that the Arginine and Calcium Carbonate complex binds to the negatively charged dentine surface forming a calcium rick layer, plugging and sealing the tubules. This plug is able to remain even after exposure to acids, providing a long term solution to dentine sensitivity. This can be found in Colgate Pro-Relief.