Toothpaste and Tooth Sensitivity

Twice each day, we brush our teeth with a substance that does more than just freshen our breath. Toothpaste is full of important ingredients that work to protect our teeth and gums.

ToothpasteBut what does each ingredient actually do? We break down the top toothpaste ingredients below.

• Fluoride: Fluoride helps to fight cavities while working to strengthen enamel. You may see sodium fluoride or stannous fluoride in your toothpaste at home, or none at all. Fluoride also helps with tooth sensitivity.

• Potassium nitrate: Have sensitive teeth? You’ll want to choose a toothpaste that uses this ingredient. Potassium nitrate can help reduce tooth sensitivity. Some over the counter products containing potassium nitrate include: Sensodyne Pro Enamel, Crest Sensitivity, Crest Sensi-Relief Plus Scope Toothpaste, Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief Enamel Repair Toothpaste, Arm & Hammer Advanced Whitening Sensitive, Tom’s of Maine Maximum Strength Sensitive, and Opalescence Whitening Sensitivity.

• Zinc citrate: Added to help fight plaque, some toothpastes include zinc citrate.

• Calcium carbonate: Many pastes include an “abrasive” ingredient to help remove stains and clean teeth, with calcium carbonate being one of the most common.

• Hydrogen peroxide: This household staple has many uses—and one may be in your toothpaste. Hydrogen peroxide can help reduce the appearance of tooth stains.

If you are still having tooth sensitivity and the toothpaste is inconsistently blocking the pain, than topical applications of fluoride on the root surfaces, surgical gum graft, dental bonding, or a root canal consultation, may be a choice to discuss with your dentist.