If you’re one of the millions of people who experience tooth sensitivity, you know the pain and discomfort it can cause. Eating or drinking hot or cold food and drinks can be a real challenge. Over time, the enamel on our teeth can wear away, exposing sensitive dentin inside, leading to mild or severe tooth sensitivity. While we can’t replace the enamel once it’s gone, we can strengthen what’s left. Luckily, there are toothpastes on the market that can help mitigate your teeth’s sensitivity and help prevent further enamel erosion.

Your favorite dental team at Advanced Indiana in Anderson, IN, has rounded up five of the best sensitivity toothpastes on the market to help keep your teeth healthy and pain-free.

5 Sensitivity Toothpastes to Try

Sensodyne ProNamel Toothpaste

Found in most of your local retail stores, Sensodyne ProNamel is one of our favorites. This toothpaste has been specifically designed to re-harden acid-softened enamel, which can help prevent further damage. It contains fluoride and potassium nitrate, which work to reduce sensitivity over time. The gentle, minty flavor is refreshing without being overpowering. You can also find it in gentle whitening solutions (see below) that both whiten and harden your enamel, preventing further stains and sensitivity.

tooth brush, with toothpaste

Colgate Sensitive Maximum Strength Toothpaste

Colgate Sensitive Maximum Strength toothpaste is highly recommended for people with severe sensitivity. This toothpaste contains potassium nitrate, which blocks pain signals from reaching the nerve. It also has fluoride to protect against decay and strengthen the enamel. The mint flavor is fresh and long-lasting, making it one of the top options for most of our patients.

ProNamel Gentle Whitening Toothpaste

Another great product from Sensodyne, the ProNamel Gentle Whitening toothpaste is specially formulated for people with sensitive teeth who want to keep them looking their best. The low-abrasion formula gently removes surface stains, while fluoride and potassium nitrate work to strengthen the enamel and reduce sensitivity. The minty flavor leaves your mouth feeling fresh and clean. It’s perfect when you’re looking for a gentle whitening without the harsh enamel wear.

Crest Sensi-Relief Toothpaste

The Crest Sensi-Relief Toothpaste is another crowd favorite. This toothpaste promises to provide rapid relief from tooth sensitivity thanks to a combination of active ingredients. It contains stannous fluoride, which is known for its anti-bacterial properties, as well as potassium nitrate to reduce sensitivity. The refreshing flavor leaves your mouth feeling clean and fresh.

Tom’s of Maine Rapid Relief Sensitive Toothpaste

For those who prefer natural products, this toothpaste from Tom’s of Maine is a great option. It contains naturally derived ingredients, such as arginine and calcium carbonate, which work together to block pain signals and seal the exposed dentin. This is especially beneficial for people with chips or cracks in their teeth who are waiting to get in for repair. The peppermint flavor is pleasant and not overpowering.

tooth sensitivity, ice cream

Why Tooth Sensitivity Happens in the First Place

Tooth sensitivity, technically known as dentin hypersensitivity, is a common dental problem that affects many people worldwide. It can manifest as a sudden, sharp flash of pain or a mild twinge when your teeth come into contact with hot, cold, sweet, or acidic substances, and even sometimes from simply brushing or flossing.

The root cause of tooth sensitivity lies beneath the tooth’s surface, in a layer called dentin. Dentin is a porous, yellowish material that contains microscopic tubules filled with tiny nerve endings. A healthy tooth has its dentin safely protected by the enamel, the hard, outer layer of the tooth, and the cementum, which covers the tooth roots.

However, if the protective layers of enamel or cementum get worn down or deteriorated, the dentin becomes exposed, leaving the nerve endings vulnerable. This means that stimuli such as hot, cold, or acidic food and drinks can reach the nerve endings in the dentin, resulting in a pain response, which we perceive as tooth sensitivity.

There are several reasons why enamel or cementum might get worn down. Over time, overly aggressive tooth brushing, grinding your teeth (a condition known as bruxism), frequent consumption of acidic foods and drinks, or even gum recession due to periodontal disease can lead to exposed dentin. Similarly, tooth decay, broken or chipped teeth, and worn-down fillings or crowns can also expose the dentin, causing sensitivity.

Identifying and understanding the root cause of tooth sensitivity is the first step in managing it effectively. As you’ve seen, tooth sensitivity can be a sign of other dental issues, so it’s always a good idea to consult with a dental professional if you’re experiencing sensitivity. They can help determine the cause and the best course of treatment to help alleviate your discomfort and protect your dental health.

Foods and Drinks to Avoid for Healthier Enamel

Maintaining a healthy diet is key to strong, resilient enamel. Certain foods and drinks can accelerate enamel erosion and increase the likelihood of tooth sensitivity. Here are five types of foods and drinks to avoid or limit for the sake of your enamel:

Citrus Fruits and Juices: While they’re packed with Vitamin C, citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, and grapefruits are high in acid. This acid can erode enamel over time. Try to limit your intake and rinse your mouth with water after consuming these fruits or their juices.

Sugary Foods and Drinks: Sugar is a significant culprit when it comes to enamel erosion. Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugars, producing acids that can erode enamel. Candies, cookies, soft drinks, and even some sports drinks are often high in sugar and should be consumed in moderation.

young woman, suffering from, tooth sensitivity, drinking coffee

Starchy Foods: Foods high in starch, like bread, pasta, and chips, can get trapped between teeth and break down into sugar. This can lead to acid production and, ultimately, enamel erosion.

Alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption can cause dehydration, leading to dry mouth. A lack of saliva can make the mouth more acidic and endanger the enamel.

Coffee and Tea: While these hot beverages can be comforting, they’re often high in acids and can stain teeth. If you can’t give them up, consider drinking water afterward to neutralize the acid.

Remember, you don’t have to eliminate these foods and drinks entirely, but being aware of their impact on your enamel can help you make healthier choices. Always remember to brush and floss regularly and visit your dentist for regular check-ups.

Let Advanced Indiana Address Your Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity can be a real pain, but there are plenty of great products on the market that can help. At Advanced Indiana, our goal is to provide you with the highest quality dental care solutions for your tooth sensitivity and other dental concerns. Our friendly and professional staff is always ready to assist you, making your comfort and satisfaction our top priority. We offer a comprehensive range of dental services, including tooth-colored fillings, teeth whitening, and dentures, ensuring that you maintain optimal oral health. So why wait? Take the first step towards a pain-free, healthier smile today. Contact us now to request your dental appointment.